TinyMixTapes is reporting on a recent examination by a rather proficient Windows user who discovered that Sony BMG releases may leave behind hidden software after being played using a media player bundled with all the label's copy-protected CDs. The following was mentioned by TinyMixTapes:
The technology present on these new CDs usually contains some kind of media player that is installed on your system so it can understand the encoded tunes. An incredibly proficient Windows user recently took a closer look at one of these players and noticed some interesting data that is left behind on your system, even after it has been deleted.
The software installs what is called a rootkit, which allows for certain files and processes to be hidden from diagnostic tools, leaving a massive unlocked door for hackers. This sort of cloaking technology is also used by malware developers to hide their tracks on your system and report back to HQ about the all the porn you've been surfing.
When the Windows user - a software developer - in question attempted to remove the software from his computer, it disabled his CD-ROM drive.
Sony BMG and a technology partner have only recently taken the step of developing a patch that will eliminate the copy-protection software's ability to hide and, consequently, prevent virus writers from cloaking their work using the copy-protection tools.
Despite the patch, some users of an online game are using the rootkit to hide cheating mechanisms.
Artists that currently fall under Sony BMG's manifold include Anti-Flag, Foo Fighters, Say Anything, Franz Ferdinand, the Ataris, Midtown, the Blood Brothers, A Static Lullaby, Acceptance, and Ben Kweller among others.