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AntiOnline Spotlight: Sony Rootkit Backlash, Week 2

By Enterprise IT Planet Staff
November 11, 2005

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First, a quick recap:

Last week the computer security crowd caught wind that some of Sony's DRM-loaded CDs install a rootkit on Windows PCs. Bad Sony! The sound of a million angry keystrokes floods the Internet as Sony and First 4 Internet are called out for their hacker-like behavior. Sony releases a patch. Case closed.

If only things were that easy...

This week things took a dramatic turn on two fronts. For starters, it didn't take long before the lawyers got involved. To make matters worse, malware authors have been keeping busy.

Two class-action lawsuits, one in California and the other in New York, threaten the electronics and entertainment giant. Even Italy is taking a look into the matter. They'll weather the legal battles, but the bad publicity will haunt them while the cases wend their way through the courts in the months (and years?) ahead.

For Sony's customers in the here and now, things are looking downright bleak. Attackers are already targeting them.

F-Secure's prophetic warnings became reality when the company came across an in-the-wild bot, Breplibot.b, that rides on Sony's DRM coattails. Here's a snippet:

Breplibot.b is a backdoor with bot capabilities. It connects to several IRC servers and waits for commands from the backdoor author. The backdoor tries to utilize Sony DRM software for hiding its process, file and registry keys.

Fortunately, the bot is broken but everyone agrees that it's only a matter a time before someone releases fully functional code.

In all, the past couple of weeks have been a fascinating study in how to weigh a company's interests against those of the consumer, and what happens when the scales tip dangerously to one side.

Note: Any opinions expressed below are solely those of the individual posters on the AntiOnline forums.

Spotlight Threads:
Sony: Why care about rootkits?
Sony XCP and rootkits
Also see last week's spotlight.

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