Cringely on Sony and Grokster


Robert X. Cringely on the Sony rootkit capper and Groksters last days:

The rootkit of all evil: As if foisting Mariah Carey on us wasn't bad enough; Sony (Profile, Products, Articles) BMG Music Entertainment has been caught installing a rootkit -- a tool typically used by malware. If you play a copy-protected Sony CD on your PC, it installs a digital rights management scheme you can neither detect nor remove. After security wonks revealed the rootkit could be used to compromise systems merely by appending the prefix "$sys$" to the name of any rogue program, Sony and software partner First 4 Internet issued a steady stream of denials, along with a patch that removes the rootkit. Everybody in the music biz wants to be a gangsta, but Sony seems to be taking those dreams literally.

It's only grok 'n' roll: File-swapping network Grokster has closed its doors and agreed to pay $50 million in damages to the record companies (although, given Grokster's subzero bank account, the companies may have to accept payment in Monopoly money). So, to recap: Making it possible for consumers to illegally swap music is very bad. Making it possible for hackers to illegally hijack your computer, however, is just an average day in the record business.