Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sony DRM Update

It's almost impossible to even keep track of this story--being stupid creates velocity, and Sony has been so stupid that they're practically breaking the speed of sound. They released a program to totally remove the rootkit, but--oops!--it creates another vulnerability on a user's system.

First, here are a couple of excellent links to fairly thorough reviews of the situation:,1848,69601,00.html.

Here's the fairly stunning lead to the second article:
At first glance, Dan Kaminsky's bright red-colored map of the world looks like a visualization of global population - but it's actually a map of networks carrying Sony's DRM software. The computer security expert estimated the number of infected networks and superimposed the data as red dots on a map of the world. The result is a impressively red globe. Kaminsky told TG Daily that "there could be three million or more infected computers."

Like I said a few days ago, this story isn't going away. And it could possibly mark a turning point in the struggle to stop programs installing secret crap on our systems that we don't want, but the reason might not be what you suspect: exposing this draconian nightmare made Mark Russinovich famous almost overnight. Now there will be thousands of people out there, very bright people, who want a taste of that, and they are going to relentlessly look for their own opportunity.

That's a comforting thought, actually.

Here's some other news that broke today. Sony has agreed to include Mandatory Managed Copy (MMC) into the Blu-Ray standard. Here's a description from Reuters (via Joystiq) of what MMC actually means:
Mandatory managed copy lets users legally copy DVDs and store the digital file on a home network.

That's right--incredibly, that feature wasn't originally included in the feature list for Blu-Ray.

Do I think Sony's pro-consumer announcement is in any way related to the absolute ass-beating they've been getting over DRM? It certainly seems likely.

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