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Mac anti-rip code surfaces on Sony BMG CD

Kernel extensions installed

Sony BMG's controversial DRM code controversy may have now spread to Macs.

According to long-running Mac user website MacInTouch, at least one CD distributed by the major label includes a Mac OS X application that purportedly installs a pair of extensions to the operating system's microkernel.

MacInTouch correspondent Darren Dittrich claims a recently purchased copy of Imogen Heap's Speak for Yourself CD contains an extra disc partition for "enhanced content". Within it sits Start.app, a Mac application that sits alongside the usual Windows files. The CD ships on the RCA label, part of of Sony BMG.

Darren reports that running Start.app presents the user with a licence agreement. Pressing the Continue button pops up a dialogue asking for an administrator's username and password - a warning that something is about to be installed somewhere - to allow the program to copy over two kernel extensions: PhoenixNub1.kext and PhoenixNub12.kext.

The licence agreement states that proceeding will install software on the host machine.

It is not believed that the two extensions incorporate the rootkit that is causing such controversy because of its effect on Windows machines. It's a Mac version of SunnComm's DRM software, MediaMax, which Sony BMG uses to copy-protect a range of CDs. ®

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