Feeds

Texas puts Sony BMG in its sights

'Illegal spyware'

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Two Princeton University computer scientists said that the way Sony BMG and copy-protection provider First 4 Internet remove the XCP software - using an Active X control - leaves PCs open to attack by malicious Web sites.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) added to its list of complaints the MediaMax copy protection software produced by digital-rights provider SunnComm. That company protects the lion's share of Sony BMG's titles with about 20 million discs bearing SunnComm's digital-rights management code.

"Consumers have a right to listen to the music they have purchased in private, without record companies spying on their listening habits with surreptitiously-installed programs," Kurt Opsahl, a staff attorney with the EFF, said in a statement. "Between the privacy invasions and computer security issues inherent in these technologies, companies should consider whether the damage done to consumer trust and their own public image is worth its scant protection."

The intense pressure from consumers and security experts had Sony BMG reversing its course last week. The company ceased to manufacture the CDs that included the troublesome technology, planned to release a secure removal tool, and instituted a buy-back program.

"We share the concerns of consumers regarding discs with XCP content-protected software, and, for this reason, we are instituting a consumer exchange program and removing all unsold CDs with this software from retail outlets," Sony BMG said in a statement published last week.

With more law firms filing complaints against Sony BMG, recalling its CDs will likely not get the media giant out of legal hot water.

The Texas Attorney General's lawsuit focuses on classifying Sony BMG's copy protection as spyware, because it secretly installs itself and is difficult to remove. Moreover, because the software remains hidden and active after installation, the Attorney General charges that it goes beyond the function of copy protection.

The whole incident is unfortunate, analysts Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire of business research firm Gartner wrote in brief on Friday (PDF), because the copy-protection software does not prevent most copy programs from duplicating discs. Moreover, a fingernail-sized piece of tape can render the track containing the software from executing, defeating the copy protection.

"Sony BMG's ... technology will prevent neither informed casual copiers nor high-volume 'pirates' from doing whatever they like with the content of the disc," the analysts wrote. "Sony BMG has created serious public-relations and legal issues for itself, and for no good reason."

Copyright © 2005, SecurityFocus

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.