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Sony Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Sony Rootkit Phones Home 494

Posted by Hemos
from the the-on-going-saga dept.
strider44 writes "Mark from Sysinternals has digged a little deeper into the Sony DRM and discovered it Phones Home with an ID for the CD being listened to. XCP Support claims that "The player has a standard rotating banner that connects the user to additional content (e.g. provides a link to the artist web site). The player simply looks online to see if another banner is available for rotation. The communication is one-way in that a banner is simply retrieved from the server if available. No information is ever fed back or collected about the consumer or their activities." Also on this topic, Matt Nikki in the comments section discovered that the DRM can be bypassed simply by renaming your favourite ripping program with "$sys$" at the start of the filename and ripping the CD using this file, which is now undetectable even by the Sony DRM. You can use the Sony rootkit itself to bypass their own DRM!" Update: 11/07 14:21 GMT by H : Attentive reader Matteo G.P. Flora also notes that an Italian lawyer has filed suit against Sony on behalf of the Italian equivalent of the EFF. Translation availabe through the hive mind. Update: 11/07 15:18 GMT by H : It does appear that in fact Sony does see through the $sys$ - see Muzzy's comment for more details.
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Sony Rootkit Phones Home

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  • Ha Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by turnipsatemybaby (648996) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:12AM (#13969054)
    Somewhere in the distance, I hear Nelson shouting, "Ha ha!"
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:12AM (#13969056) Journal
    What happens if it phones home with a really big packet?

    -jcr

    • by sammy baby (14909) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:14AM (#13969061) Journal
      Depends on whether it still has minutes left on its plan.
    • Re:I wonder...NOT (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BoRegardless (721219)
      Lest anyone at Microsoft or Sony not understand why they don't "hear from my XP box"...

      It is because the damned thing is NEVER allowed online!

      And if and when I eventually go to VISTA, I won't allow it to go online either.

      Microsoft has simply created an unbelievable amount of ill-will and lack of trust in me.

      My Macs are the only thing I trust to go online, with the exception of running XP in emulation on my Mac.
      • Microsoft has simply created an unbelievable amount of ill-will and lack of trust in me.

        This article is about Sony and their creation of ill-will and lack of trust, not Microsoft. Yes, yes. Sony's rootkit is designed for windows, autoplay, etc and so on, but you really can't blame Microsoft in this case. It is just as possible to create a rootkit for any Macintosh or Linux machine, they just haven't because most of their customers use windows.

        As for autoplay being a bad idea, it is and it isn't. I re
        • Re:I wonder...NOT (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BoRegardless (721219)
          I do have to agree with your comments. I agree that other OS's can have software added in bad ways. What I would prefer to see is that the OS's that I run, never allow any install to occurr without me personally OKing the operation. Maybe that would be obtrusive, but that is what I would wish.

          But what I do object to in MS Windows is the concept that Microsoft has designed their "system" with the input from their 'strategic partners' like Sony, to allow these sorts of things which have happened, which is
  • Uh Oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Honig the Apothecary (515163) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:13AM (#13969058)
    I smell a DMCA violation on the /. front page! Cue the Sony lawyers in 4..3..2....
    • Re:Uh Oh (Score:5, Informative)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) <[Satanicpuppy] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:21AM (#13969098) Journal
      Heh. But you're circumventing their copy protection using their invasive DRM package. So aren't they to blame for the circumvention? They wrote the code, after all, and adding "$sys$" to a filename is as trivial as holding down the shift key, and the shift key lawsuit was thrown out of court. If only someone else could sue them...

      I think Blizzard in particular has a good case against them, since their crazy DRM is being used to circumvent some of Blizz' anti-cheating measures.
      • Now, I'm not a lawyer, and I'm not 100% familiar with the laws in question, but I seem to recall that DMCA violations are criminal, not civil, offences. This means that the state gets to decide who to prosecute, not the victim (which was why the Skylarov case continued after Adobe tried to drop it). In this case, couldn't the state (acting on behalf of Sony) prosecute Sony for DMCA violations?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:13AM (#13969059)
    CDex 1.51 had no issues ripping this CD.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:28AM (#13969153)
      I've never met anything that cdparanoia couldn't handle, unless it was scratched to death; IIRC, CDex uses cdparanoia as its ripping engine, so it should have the same uber ripping powers.

      AFAIK, the rootkit is the only protection on this CD. As they admit, it looks like a normal CD to an Apple computer - and, of course, to a Linux computer. And, for that matter, to a Windows computer with Autorun disabled... I do enjoy a truly pathetic copyrestriction system, don't you?

      • by ModernGeek (601932) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:40AM (#13969238) Homepage
        If it installs this rootkit through autorun when you put the CD into your Windows machine, how is this any different from a worm? Just because it isn't spread through the internet doesn't change the fact that it is a virus.
        • by meringuoid (568297) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:44AM (#13969268)
          If it installs this rootkit through autorun when you put the CD into your Windows machine, how is this any different from a worm? Just because it isn't spread through the internet doesn't change the fact that it is a virus.

          It doesn't automatically self-propagate, so it isn't a worm. Nor does it infect files and piggyback on them to infect other machines; it isn't a virus. This particular piece of malware comes attached to something the user wants (i.e. a music CD) without his knowledge, and proceeds to infect his machine, but makes no attempts to spread itself to other machines. That makes it a trojan.

          • by ModernGeek (601932) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:55AM (#13969324) Homepage
            The way I heard it, it sounded like it was copying itself from the CD to the machine without the users consent. I assumed this would be called a virus as it is replicating itself. Maybe trend micro's quiz didn't educate me very well

            After finding more information about it, it sounds as if it blocks programs from accessing the CD drive that are in sony's list.

            Step 1: Rename your Windows Server App to ITUNES3.EXE
            Step 2: Put all the config files for that server app on a CD
            Step 3: Insert Sony music CD into secondary drive
            Step 4: The DRM that installed itself without your consent crashed your mission critical server. Sony is liable!
            Step 5: ???
            Step 6: Profit!
            • by zootm (850416) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:17AM (#13969484)

              The way I heard it, it sounded like it was copying itself from the CD to the machine without the users consent. I assumed this would be called a virus as it is replicating itself. Maybe trend micro's quiz didn't educate me very well

              Nah, viruses copy themselves, this one is installed by another part of the software when the CD is inserted, then does not copy itself. The difference is subtle, though. "Trojan" is very accurate.

  • No information (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:14AM (#13969064)
    "No information is ever fed back or collected about the consumer or their activities."

    Other then your IP address, date and time it's connected to the net, the CD you're listening to, how often you listen to it...
  • by PhotoBoy (684898) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:14AM (#13969065)
    Is it the game of working out ways to piss off Sony by circumventing their crappy DRM?
  • by slashnutt (807047) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:15AM (#13969068) Journal
    The Register [theregister.co.uk]
    World of Warcraft hackers have confirmed that the hiding capabilities of Sony BMG's content protection software can make tools made for cheating in the online world impossible to detect.

    ----
    Did you like the placement of the comma?
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:15AM (#13969070)
    Mark has also just posted how First 4 Internet, the creators of the rootkit, have made a rebuttle on Mark's claims: http://www.sysinternals.com/blog/2005/11/sonys-roo tkit-first-4-internet.html [sysinternals.com]
  • by w.timmeh (906406) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:15AM (#13969072)
    DRM software bypasses... itself?! Wait...
    • by muzzy (164903)
      It would've indeed been super funny. However, the rootkit is made so that processes starting with $sys$ can see all files and processes that begin with $sys$ ... Try it with task manager, command prompt, or even explorer.exe (just kill the already running instance first)

      Something else let me rip the track the first time, so the DRM system probably bugs. Every other time I tried, that trick didn't work. I'll know more when I've finished analyzing the rootkit, but it's taking time...
  • by RandoX (828285) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:18AM (#13969085)
    I don't have (and don't plan to buy) one of these CDs, but I would think that any external communication or use of your net connection would have to be disclosed in the EULA. It could be covered in some legalese catch-all such as "as necessary to provide enhanced services", etc. This is the kind of reason I'm immediately suspicious of anything that begins, "For your convenience"... It rarely is.
  • LGPL violation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:20AM (#13969095)
    comment posted by Matti Nikki :
    Also, go check Contents\GO.EXE in the cd and search for string "LAME". This is possible LGPL violation, since LAME mp3 library has been statically linked against the executable. You can see that version.c has been compiled in since it generates those version strings, and I found tables.c as well. Didn't locate any code though, apparently removed by optimizing compiler due to being unreferenced, but I couldn't test for all LAME code as I don't have proper tools available (such as sabre-security bindiff)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Don't get your panties in a wad, genius. The LAME string exists because that is one of the pirate programs that the DRM software specifically looks for. Simply having the string in your program doesn't make it a LGPL violation. That would be LAME.

      Duh.
      • by muzzy (164903) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:08AM (#13969409) Homepage Journal
        Go and check it yourself, and compare to lame sources. The data from tables.c is included in the executable in identical form (several large tables), also all the version strings are included, which the DRM system doesn't check.

        The data is there, the big question is if it was linked accidently, or if it actually uses LAME code as well.
        • by hey! (33014)
          Well, this is the same argument SCO made about, was it errnos.h or some such?

          Copyright covers expression, not data or collections of data.
          • by muzzy (164903)
            Well, since the version strings in question are generated by macros when version.c is compiled, it is 100% clear that the translation units containing lame code have been statically linked against the exe. Most if not all of it has been removed by optimizing compiler, though, so there's the POTENTIAL for violation if any of the code remains and is used. Either way, I'd like to know why it was linked. That's pretty difficult to do by accident, really...
  • by Slashdiddly (917720) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:25AM (#13969126)
    I have to hand it to Sony marketing execs. Ordinarily they would be hard-pressed to sell even a few dozen copies of that CD. Throw in some DRM and now you have millions of geeks buying the CD trying to break it (or verify somebody else's claims of having broken it). That stuff is so good you can't even torrent it.
  • What if. . . (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:25AM (#13969130) Homepage Journal
    you're not connected to the net? I know, horrible thought to comprehend but there are those of us who aren't plugged in 24/7.

    What happens then? Do you get an error message? Does the CD not play? What if you block the ad retrieval via your firewall?

    What if I turn off the monitor and walk away while the CD plays? Am I stealing ala Jack Valenti and not watching commercials on tv?
  • Utterly Laughable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yakumo.unr (833476) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:25AM (#13969132) Homepage
    These copy protection schemes are NEVER goign to work as long as the content is still available to play on regular cd players. Even if it's not, it will be hacked as long as some hacker thinks it might be an amusing way to spend an afternoon.

    why are sony SO unbeleivably stupid as to think otherwise. They must be wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on this utterly useless rubbish, that even the least technical of people can bypass.

    These things are so childish no hacker would even bother with them, as stated this one even defeats itself!
    It only takes one breach to distribute a copy, why piss off thousands of genuine paying clients?

    The mind boggles, the only people winning are the copy protection companies living happy lives doing nothing but ripping Sony off.

    aren't they supposed to do maketing studdies on things before release?
    maybe employ a 16 year old to independantly test the schemes for them rather than taking the word of the people selling them this rubbish
    (I'd have said 10 year old but it wouldn't be legal)

    revenue lost to purchasing clients who will have to return product as it wont run. $X,0000
    revenue lost to potential clients who will be scared off buying in the first place. $Y,0000
    estimated reputation damage to company. priceless.

    estimate of no. of pirated copies prevented. ZERO.
    • by sqlrob (173498)
      estimate of no. of pirated copies prevented. ZERO.

      Actually, that's probably in the negative. How many are going to pirate that weren't simply because they aren't going to trust Sony CDs not to do anything to their computer from now on?
  • great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by archen (447353) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:26AM (#13969135)
    So you can use their own rootkit to bypass their own DRM. And exactly what level of control do you even have at the point where you are screwing with a rootkit to rip CD's on your own computer?

    I hope Microsoft is paying attention here, because this could set an EXTREMELY bad trend here. Why do we have these "certified" drivers? Because a lot of them were crap. Now we have software injecting stuff directly into the OS. I can't say this is going to help MS in the security and stability department.
  • by muzzy (164903) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:26AM (#13969137) Homepage Journal

    Just my luck, when I make it to slashdot it's something I've analyzed wrong. I tested to rename my ripping software to begin with $sys$ and it ripped it fine, but apparently something else was the deciding factor. I can't reproduce that effect!

    There's definitely something fishy going on, however, with two magic lists in the DRM system (one in installer, one in $sys$DRMServer.exe), and the drmserver scans running processes and open windows, testing them against those lists. So far I haven't figured what it does when it finds a match. The code is written in C++ and although I've found the function call, it's virtual and I need to figure which vtable is being used and it's bitchy without a debugger. I'm not going to run this crap on my development systems, and my test machine doesn't even have net access, too much work to setup debuggers on it just yet :(

    Anyway, the lists for everyone to see:
    http://hack.fi/~muzzy/sony-drm-magic-list.txt [hack.fi]
    http://hack.fi/~muzzy/sony-drm-magic-list-2.txt [hack.fi]
    The first one is from installer, the second from drmserver

  • by tradjik (862898) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:27AM (#13969146)
    As posted previously on another SONY DRM/rootkit article, here is a google search through Amazon listing the DRM'ed CDs:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=sony+site:amazon.co m+intitle:%22%5BCONTENT/COPY-PROTECTED+CD%5D%22&nu m=100/ [google.com]
  • by xtracto (837672) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:28AM (#13969152) Journal
    SysInternal's Mark Russinovich has posted a new entry about Sony's XCP DRM technology. [sysinternals.com]

    According to his post, it seems Sony's fix "patch" makes a little "contact home" contacting Sony servers. This even when sony claims that their software didnt made contact with them.

    Slashdot covered previously [slashdot.org] the intial XCP rootkit story.

    The inquirer [theinquirer.net] has an interesting article on the Sony DRM technology overall.

    And it seems community have found several alternate uses for the XCP technology which include hiding game cheating software [theregister.co.uk] and even to bypass DRM technology [sysinternals.com]
  • by melgish (687818)
    I've always been under the impression that Japanese companies (or those largly held by) were a bit more ethical than their American counterparts. Sony has proven to me that my impression was completely in error. Unless they come very clean, very quickly, I will do my utmost to avoid purchasing any Sony product ever again, be it a new cam corder, an entertianment system...or even blank media.
  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:31AM (#13969175) Homepage
    here 'ya go [google.com] ... which raises an interesting question - what if ET tries to play a Sony CD - what is the timeout option for the "phone home" packet if the ping times are overly long?
  • I could see Sony continuing this with their memory sticks. What's to stop them from installing a rootkit anytime you got a digital camera or an mp3 player from them?
  • Is proper English that hard?
  • "Also on this topic, Matt Nikki in the comments section discovered that the DRM can be bypassed simply by renaming your favourite ripping program with "$sys$" at the start of the filename and ripping the CD using this file, which is now undetectable even by the Sony DRM. You can use the Sony rootkit itself to bypass their own DRM!"

    This of course brought to you by the same people who brought out copy protection that was defeated by a magic marker.
  • by Biotech9 (704202) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:39AM (#13969226) Homepage
    Matt Nikki in the comments section discovered that the DRM can be bypassed simply by renaming your favourite ripping program with "$sys$" at the start of the filename and ripping the CD using this file, which is now undetectable even by the Sony DRM. You can use the Sony rootkit itself to bypass their own DRM!"

    All I've seen from people on this issue are ways to get around the DRM. Yes, there are MANY ways to get around it, audio line-out to a DAT or an iPod, using linux, a mac, CDex, Audiograbber, Audiohijack-pro...

    But that is all just retarded, if you're buying this CD and you use it as Sony want you to use it, it is NO different than if you buy the CD and rip it with some workaround. Sony don't SEE a difference. The MP3s will be on DC++ anyway, it's not like they will lose sales to people ripping it for their iPods or whatever.

    And if you do buy the CD, (regardless of wheter you rip it or not) you have just voted. Corporations are the Governments of today and with your purchase you vote. And buying any content protected CD regardless of what you do with it is a VOTE to Sony that DRM is acceptable to you. And that means next time it won't be some crappy nobody C&W CD that is taking over your PC, it'll be the big Sony acts. And then the big EMI acts and WB acts and so on.

    Vote with your cash, buy non-DRM encumbered CDs or else just steal it. I'd prefer to take the moral issues and risk of stealing rather than just be Sony's bitch and install their shitty rootkit on my computer.
  • by nurb432 (527695)
    So not only do they infect my PC, but now i have to get ads just to listen to some music?
  • by mcgroarty (633843) <brian,mcgroarty&gmail,com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:47AM (#13969280) Homepage
    I'm no copyfighting warrior. I buy all my music because I enjoy supporting the industry that makes it available to me. That said, it sure seems to me that all Sony are doing here is removing the incentive to purchase their CDs. Not only do you face the possibility of not being able to rip as you please, but you face the possibility of screwing up your system by buying Sony CDs.

    What's the goal here? To stop the people who buy CDs and rip copies for a few friends... by driving everybody to rely on safer online distribution exclusively?

  • NPR had it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkSarin (651985) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:47AM (#13969281) Homepage Journal
    NPR had a story about this, and did a reasonable job of it. If they would cover it a few more times as things progress, maybe Sony will get the picture.

    Currently I own 2 Sony products--a Clie and a Cybershot. If this kind of thing continues, however, I will make these my last Sony purchases of any kind.

    There is a good reason that this matters, not just to us, but to everyone: Sony has obviously lied about their actions, and should be held responsible. If we as consumers don't stand up and say "stop", then this will get worse. Currently computers are very powerful, but with more and more of this crap, we will all soon need Cray's to run even the simplest game smoothly because of the myriad background services that are hogging resources. I've already decided that as soon as I can I will ditch Windows (all that I need is money to buy SPSS/SAS for linux, or the ability to run SPSS in wine, and I'm good)--for the same reasons.

    If I get rid of windows, then sony can't pull this crap.

    Finally, is there a non-Sony-provided version of an uninstaller for this crap? I don't trust them!
  • by keraneuology (760918) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:50AM (#13969293) Journal
    Anybody who buys any CD or DVD from Sony before a VP at Sony is fired over this bears direct responsibility for this. The ONLY thing that Sony will understand is a loss of business. Losing a lawsuit just won't cut it because their insurance company will bear the brunt of the loss.

    If you care about this, then don't buy Sony games, music or movies. If you don't care about DRM and spyware issues then by all means go out and buy more product from them.

    Is sending a clear message that you will not tolerate corporate abuses worth going a few months without shelling out $18 for a CD that has two decent tracks on it?

    Accept nothing less - the public firing of the VP who oversaw the department that gave the green light to this - or no purchase of any Sony game, music or movie.

    Personally I don't think enough people value unhacked systems enough to make the sacrifice. My prediction is that Sony will essentially get away with it, may have their insurance company pay a few settlement checks, and make a better attempt next time around. Or simply write enough checks to MS to ensure that the DRM is included in the Colonel (weak joke about a police state... sorry). And write enough checks to Motorola and Intel to make sure that DRM is included at the chip level. And write enough checks to US Senators to make sure that the law will back them up next time.

    Again, the only recourse is to refuse to buy Sony products until a VP is fired. Nothing else will work.

  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:53AM (#13969312)
    Isn't the solution pretty simple? Anyone surprised that Sony is pulling shit like this? They're one of the major members of the RIAA, MPAA, CRIA... Don't be a stupid consumer -- it's ridiculous to both spend your money on something that upsets you, only to get upset more. Warn your family against Sony products
  • by egburr (141740) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:00AM (#13969362) Homepage
    One thing I haven't seen addressed (or maybe I just misseid it?) is WHY it is even possible to implement this "feature" of being able to hide a process by adding the $sys$ prefix. That sounds like a severe bug in Windows.

    This "rootkit" doesn't even have to be present now that the virus/trojan/spyware writers know it is possible. Re-implementing this feature would just be one of the first steps of installation. Shouldn't people be demanding a fix for this from Microsoft?

    • by nick8325 (825464) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:20AM (#13969502)
      The rootkit installs a driver. In Windows (as in Linux and Mac OS X), lots of drivers (but not all) run in kernel mode. In particular, this one does. There is nothing to stop code running in kernel mode from doing anything it likes with the machine - it is running with the highest possible privileges.

      In this case, the rootkit patches the system call table, so that calls to functions to look at directory contents are intercepted by the driver, which just pretends that no files starting with $sys$ exist.

      There is nothing that Windows can do to stop drivers from doing this while they run in kernel mode. It can make it harder to do, though - I think the 64-bit versions of Windows check the system call table and blue screen if they find it's been changed. To get around that, the driver would either have to take over from Windows completely (not too practical) or find the code that checked the system call table and patch it.

      Of course, you do need to have the right privileges to install a driver in order to install this rootkit. Usually, that means being an adminstrator.
      • In this case, the rootkit patches the system call table, so that calls to functions to look at directory contents are intercepted by the driver, which just pretends that no files starting with $sys$ exist.

        This raises a few good questions. First, how long will it be before someone uses this to hide their virus/worm/trojan (besides Sony that is)? Or for that matter, just creates a 30 gig file called $sys$ThereGoesYourFreeSpaceSuckerFindItIfYouCan?

        2. Other than the lack of DAs falling over themselves

    • The fix is to upgrade to amd64. I believe Windows on amd64 does not allow patching of the kernel function call table (#include correct technobabble here).
      • One of the comments on the sysinternals story was from someone with a 64-bit system. He said the next time he rebooted, after installing this program his cd and dvd drives were not visible in Windows. He did admit that it was very effective copy protection, but wasn't very pleased that his gaming system had no usable optical drives.

        NOT GOOD FOR 64bit USERS, October 9, 2005
        Reviewer: tvideo (NJ, USA) - See all my reviews
        Since, I don't care about stealing any music, the "Copy Protected" warning didn't bother

  • Bull (Score:4, Interesting)

    by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:03AM (#13969388) Journal
    No information is ever fed back or collected about the consumer or their activities

    If I play this CD and it "phones home", then "they" know
    • I have played the CD
    • if I need a new banner
    • they know where to Send it to
    • they know how often I listen to it (via how many times I've checked for a new banner
    I say Bull. There is a lot that can be said about me based on the idea that this rootkit phones home.
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:50AM (#13969729) Journal
    to see the kit added to major antivirus detection list.

    Trojan detected: WIN32.DrmSony.SPY@mm - Threat: medium; class: Spyware, Rootkit, OS-damage.
    Known to cause CD drive malfunction, secretly uploads third party data, prevents certain userspace programs from running, hides from the OS, installs itself without user consent.
    OS infection prevented.
    Warning: E:\ Volume is Read-Only. The virus cannot be removed (cause: Data written to non-erasable CD.)
    Recommendation: Back up all non-infected data from the medium by re-burning it to a new blank CD, destroy infected disk.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:30PM (#13970050)
    It is more important that people absorb media mind-control than it is for big companies to make lots of money.

    Everybody in industrialized nations will always have access to more than enough medium for their brains to drown in. Money made directly from the sale of media, is in this case, a secondary concern.

    The only things people might have a more difficult time gaining access to in our DRM future are positive, un-tainted messages. Though with choice and intent, people can find those easily enough as well.

    So don't sweat the reverse psychology; we'll still all be able to listen to the next pop star with relatively little trouble. --In fact, as per usual, it will probably take a degree of concentrated effort to avoid whatever dark-side, soul-draining message of slavery is being broadcast.

    "Hit me Baby, one more time."

    Ugh. The stuff is like nuclear fall-out. Destructive and near impossible to avoid.


    -FL

  • prevention (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:12PM (#13971248) Homepage
    In the past, while working on a friend's infected laptop, cleaning out malware, I took down the names of some of the installed junk, and in frustration, I reinstalled the OS, and created 0-byte files with the same names as the spyware files, then I set them to read-only, and permissions only to the SYSTEM and a dummy admin user account. For the past year or so, she hasn't had nearly as many episodes of needing me to clear off her system. Part of that may be because of the copy of Spybot Search and Destroy, Norton, and the fact that she now uses Firefox.

    But creating an 0-byte Aries.sys stub, making it read-only, may prevent the installation of the real-deal.

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