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Computerized Investing > November/December 2005

Editor's Outlook

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by John Bajkowski

File sharing networks are known to be dangerous locations to download files. The promised free file may be infected with a virus or worm that could ultimately harm your system. Now it turns out that a music CD or movie DVD may install stealth digital rights management (DRM) software to limit copying.

It has been discovered recently that the copy-protection software installed by Sony through select music CDs uses a cloaking technique more commonly employed by virus writers. Sony employs the XCP copy-protection software by the British company First 4 Internet that is cloaked. When a Sony copy-protected CD is loaded into a computer, users are asked permission to install digital rights management software, which ultimately uses a technique termed a “rootkit” that is designed to hide the presence of the software on the system and protect the software from removal. This software is difficult to remove, runs even when the copy-protected CD is not playing, and may shut-off access to your CD drive if removed incorrectly.

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