From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Definition of rootkit.
“A rootkit is a set of tools frequently used by an intruder after cracking a computer system. These tools are intended to conceal running processes and files or system data, which helps an intruder maintain access to a system for malicious purposes. Root kits are known to exist for a variety of operating systems such as Linux, Solaris and versions of Microsoft Windows. Rootkits received increased prominance in late 2005, when it was found Sony/BMG was including them on their music CD’s.”
There has been quite a lot in the news the past several days concerning a new “rootkit” type DRM solution from Sony. When inserting one of their products that contains this DRM on a Windows PC optical drive, anyone that has auto play enabled on their Windows computer and agrees to the end user license agreement in order to play the CD, will have a cloaking software installed to their hard drive without their knowledge and consent. Unfortunately, once installed it is difficult to remove properly and this even goes for experienced PC technicians. There is also a possibility that your CD drive would be rendered inoperative among other things. To remove the product also requires the use some help and a “patch” from Sony. It is being reported that in order to obtain the patch and instructions, that there are some privacy concerns connected with the procedure and people have even had to explain why they would like to remove the malware from their computer prior to obtaining assistance from Sony.
At first, this DRM solution was being looked upon as spyware or malware, but now, the situation has become much more serious. It is now believed that this cloaking technology will render anyone who has it installed upon their computer to be vulnerable to hackers and new viruses. Here is an excerpt from an article written by News Editor SeÃ¡n Byrne:
"It has also been found to introduce a security vulnerability as well as potentially crash Windows during its installation of the patch to ‘decloak it’. Once the user agrees to the EULA when the CD is loaded, the rootkit is installed, which makes files, directories and registry keys beginning with ‘$sys$’ invisible to the system, such as those used by the Cd’s DRM software.
As Sony’s rootkit can hide files and registry keys, this introduces quite a serious security risk, since hackers, viruses or other unwanted software can make themselves invisible also on any system with this rootkit installed just by adding a $sys$ to the beginning of its file/directory names or registry keys. This is what makes it such a concern for the companies behind anti virus software since it cannot detect these type of files."
Please feel free to read the article in it’s entirety prior to filling out the poll. However, keep in mind that in any industry, when it is discovered by a company that a product it produced is defective, or it is discovered that said product can cause harm if left in the market, it is recalled. We have to ask ourselves if it is responsible for Sony to leave out in distribution such products. It is believed that there are some 20 music titles that contain this payload.