Sony CDs Break PCs

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is, at best, an unnecessary inconvenience. Sometimes we pine for instant gratification and trade away common sense, like when we download music from an online service instead of purchasing a CD. But what if that CD has DRM built-in—DRM that installs the same sort of malicious software used by teenage Russian hackers everywhere (but especially Russia)?

As explained by this painfully thorough technical dissection, Sony’s copy protection scheme for its CDs sneaks an uninstallable bit of software onto Windows PCs that masks its presence in the same way as ‘rootkits.’ Whatever, you say, having become all-too-familiar with downloading DRM-cracking software from the internet—until you discover that removing Sony’s hidden software can cripple your computer’s CD drive entirely.

That’s nigh-on criminal, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a class-action suit coming around the bend soon enough. The quick fix? Don’t buy any CDs published by Sony.

Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far [SysInternals]