In his brief Wednesday post, fellow Daynotes Gang member Rick Hellewell addressed the Sony rootkit issue. He gives a good overview of the problem along with some links to follow. Rick defines the problem thusly:
Here's the problem: if the root kit is installed, then any other process similarly named will be invisible to the user or system administrator. Great opportunity for the virus/worm writers. Or the "Rats" (the guys that install keystroke loggers via virus/worm/"drive-by attack" to gather your bank login keystrokes.
Go follow the links from Rick and get yourself edumacated.
This is especially egregious corporate behavior. Malware -- including spyware, viruses, worms, and rootkits -- is one of the major causes of system instability. It appears that it is very diffcult to get rid of the Sony rootkit without reformatting you hard drive and reinstalling Windows and your apps.
Sony has a legitimate interest in protecting its intellectual property rights. This doesn't give them the right to violate your property rights to your system by using underhanded tactics to get you to install malware on your PC. I would love to see Sony and the company which wrote the rootkit get the shit sued out of them. It would seem to me that Sony is setting itself up for liability for trespass to chattel, unfair trade practices, and possibly worse, depending on actual damages.
I can tell you that I sure as hell won't be putting any CDs from Sony in my computers, and the odds of my buying anything from them ever again (I have a Sony digital camera and camcorder) are basically zero.