Sony Rootkits and Other News

First, the news:

The big story at the moment is that Sony installs rootkits on computers when you use their DRM’ed CDs. This was first discovered here but was confirmed here. This has really been all over the internet. The basic idea is that rootkits are small programs that are designed to hide their own presence and the presence of other programs from everyone else on a machine. They are mainly used by crackers to keep people from noticing that they have malicious software controlling their computers. Sony, however, seems to think it needs to hide their DRM software in a similar way. Moreover, when you try to remove this, it messes up the drivers for your CD-ROM. It also makes it easier for actual crackers to hide their software. Truly nasty stuff coming from such a public company.

We also have our usual scandals going on in the US (“Scooter” Libby is pleading Not Guilty), Canada (the Liberal Party has apparently been having a financial scandal involving kickbacks to certain companies, and almost everyone except Prime Minister Paul Martin seems to be involved), and the UK (David Blunkett resigned again over poor business practices, and his unpopularity is again rubbing off onto Tony Blair).

Now for me:

Again, boo NSF Fellowship essays! the plan is to just work through this weekend on them. However, once they’re finished, I have to study for the CS GRE and figure out the bus/subway system again (is anyone going to Cal State – L.A. on November 12? Can I get a ride?). I’m also now 3 weeks behind on my Algorithms grading, and it would be nice to get caught up on that before the end of the semester. Argh! Too much stuff! I have to make next semester easier. In the meantime, I fear you won’t hear from me again for at least a week…

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