Businesses view Sony DRM as ‘security threat’

Nearly all business PC users believe Sony's DRM copy protection to be a security threat, according to a new survey.

The poll of more than 1,500 business PC users, conducted by Sophos, revealed that 98 percent believed Sony's controversial digital rights management (DRM) software, which installs a rootkit-like application on computers, thus hiding the copy protection from the operating system, is a security threat.

The news came as Sony announced that it is suspending production of any further CDs which contain the technology. Only 2 percent of users polled felt that it was a fair way to fight music piracy.

The technology caused concern after trojan horses were discovered exploiting the DRM's functionality in an attempt to hide themselves from anti-virus products. Any file with $sys$ in its name has been automatically hidden by the copy-protection code, making it invisible on computers which have used CDs carrying Sony's software.

Microsoft also classified the software as malicious software. It is planning to include detection and removal tools in its next update to its anti-spyware product.

"In taking aim at the music pirates, Sony succeeded only in shooting itself in the foot," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Business PC users have a very low opinion of any code which endangers the safety of their networks, and they have sent a loud and clear message to Sony and other companies that this kind of code is unacceptable to them."

Sophos has issued a tool to detect the existence of Sony's DRM copy-protection on Windows computers.

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