Microsoft is the Bad Guy?

You buy a PC. There is crapware all over it. Unwanted trial programs slow your brand new system to a crawl. We’re talking about the programs installed by the OEMs, you know, HP, Sony, Dell, those guys. The programs we’re talking about are the trial office and antivirus, games and photo albums. You name it and it’s there. You don’t need it and you shouldn’t want it.

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Digital Rights Management

Extended Copy Protection (XCP aka Sony Rootkit)

In November of 2005, Sony BMG Music Entertainment was in the headlines because of the dangerous consequences of their decision to place First 4 Internet Ltd’s XCP technology on selected audio CD’s. (See Rob’s December 12 Sony’s Rootkit article). The software would load onto a person’s hard drive when an XCP protected audio CD was inserted into their PC. The purpose of the software was to limit the number of copies that CD owners could make. The technology used rootkit hiding techniques that could be used by other hackers to enter a PC without the owner’s permission. As a result of the pressure from the media and consumers, Sony has stopped distributing and using the XCP technology.

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The Sony XCP Rootkit

In March 2005, Sony’s BMG music division began shipping music CDs that included a particularly strong form of digital rights management (DRM) software called XCP. These CDs play normally in a standard CD player, but when inserted into a PC they will attempt to install the DRM software onto the PC. The software limits the number of copies you can make and prevents transfer of the music to some music players such as the Apple iPod.

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