This is a Chaos Manor Warning. I would be shouting
if I were not concerned
that it would trigger your spam filters.
You may or may not be familiar with the Sony Music CD
Root Kit problem.
Let me begin with the warning: do not buy or install
any Sony Music CD on
your PC. The records play just fine on other systems. There's no problem
with Mac or Linux or with self contained music players.
But if you try to play that record on your CD, it will
tell you that you
must install the Sony CD player codec (you can't play the record through
Microsoft Media Player or any other stuff you have installed on your
DO NOT INSTALL THAT SOFTWARE. If you do you may never
be able to get it off
there short of scrubbing your system down to bare iron, reformatting,
reinstalling everything. I wish I were spoofing you, but I am not. This
a serious warning.
Moreover, if you have given a Sony Music CD to anyone
as a gift, and they
have tried to play that music on their PC (not Mac, not a standalone
player, not Linux, but Windows PC) then their systems are infected, and
is exceedingly difficult -- exceedingly difficult -- to remove that
infection in a way that doesn't blue screen of death the PC.
MY ADVICE IS NOT TO BUY ANY SONY MUSIC CD.
I have heard nothing about Sony movie DVD's having any
such infection, but
it's possible. So far all my Sony DVD's have played with Power DVD and I
have not been asked or required to install any special Sony software to
play a Sony movie DVD; if I am asked to do so I will refuse, and so
Understand that the Root Kit on the Sony Music CD is a
installation by Sony as part of a Digital Rights Management scheme. They
will now, if you jump through enough hoops, send you a patch that will
their scheme visible -- like all root kits, their original installation
infects your operating system as to hide in a directory your operating
system literally cannot see or access -- but it still does not remove
I'll have more on removal in the column and at another
time this being
column time. I will also have a
DO NOT BUY SONY MUSIC CD
warning in my Christmas Shopping List in the column.
This is a serious infection: the scheme has actually
been used by third
parties to hide other malware on systems that have the Sony root kit
installed, and others have used the Sony root kit to hide cheat software
for World of Warcraft. Even if you think you know what you are doing,
should not fool around with this stuff. It's dangerous, it's very
to remove, and there is a very real risk that you will have to reformat
your disk and reinstall your OS and everything else.
For more information see:
The last reference is to the Sysinternals page where
an incredulous Mark
Russinovich relates how he found the root kit on his system: the root
has been out for months, and this is the first indication of it's
Sony did a splendid job of stealthing this.
I will have more in the column and on the web page. If
you have bought and
installed a Sony Music CD on your PC, *you need more help than I can
you*. Start with the Sysinternals page, and *proceed with extreme
And the best of British Luck to you.