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Sony opens up over another CD security hole

Gropes for stop button on content-protected CDs

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Sony has again been outed for including questionable software on its music CDs, after it emerged a security vulnerability in content protection software shipped on some of its disks could allow consumers’ PCs to be hijacked

The consumer electronics and media giant, together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said today that SunnComm had released a security update for its MediaMax Version 5 content protection software, which ships on “certain Sony BMG CDs”.

According to the EFF, the vulnerability centres on a file folder installed by the MediaMax software shipped on some Sony CDs, “that could allow malicious third parties who have localized, lower-privilege access to gain control over a consumer’s computer running the Windows operating system.”

The vulnerability was uncovered by iSEC Partners in an examination at the behest of the EFF. A list of affected titles and links to the patch can be found at the EFF’s website, here.

After the beating it took following last month’s DRM rootkit debacle, Sony has wasted no time coughing to the latest problem and wrapping itself up in the EFF flag. No doubt it has also ordered extra sackcloth and ashes to show just how sorry it really is.

It might need them, as the EFF is pointing out “other severe problems with MediaMax discs, including: undisclosed communications with servers Sony controls… undisclosed installation of over 18 MB of software regardless of whether the user agrees to the End User License Agreement; and failure to include an uninstaller with the CD.”

Sony is not alone in shipping the MediaMax software. Around 30 other labels use it, according to the EFF, which is checking to see if the same vulnerability exists on those labels' titles.®

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