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>>> Beastie Boys CD Installs Virus <<<

 
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SparkleMotion is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 03:15 AM
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SparkleMotion
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Beastie Boys CD Installs Virus

According to The Register and a thread at BugTraq,

quote:
A new Beastie Boys' CD called "To the Five Boroughs" (Capitol Records), is raising hackles around the Web for reputedly infecting computers with a virus.

According to a recent thread at BugTraq, an executable file is automatically and silently installed on the user's machine when the CD is loaded. The file is said to be a driver that prevents users from ripping the CD (and perhaps others), and attacks both Windows boxen and Macs.

The infected CD is being distributed worldwide except in the USA and UK, which prevents us from giving a firsthand report. However, according to hearsay, we gather that the Windows version exploits the 'autorun' option, and that the Mac version affects the auto play option.

On Windows, when a CD is loaded, a text file called autorun.inf is read, and any instructions within it are executed. In this case, the machine is instructed to install some manner of DRM driver that prevents copying. We haven't seen either the .inf file or any of the executables, so we can't say how or at what level it accomplishes this - or if indeed it actually does accomplish this.

But assuming that the unconfirmed reports are accurate, we have here a media company infecting users' machines silently with a file that affects a computer's functionality, without first obtaining informed consent: a likely violation of pretty much every jurisdiction's anti-hacking laws. It's possible to foresee criminal charges being brought at some point: after all, having a good reason for spreading malware has never been much of a defence in court. And a file that alters a computer's functioning without the owner's informed consent is the very definition of malware. Because this malware can be transferred from machine to machine on a removable disk, and requires user interaction to spread, it is, quite simply, a computer virus. (A worm, on the other hand, is distinguished by its ability to spread without user interaction.)
See link for further details and disinfection information.

Corporate malware appears to be here...!

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forecheck is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 04:24 AM
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forecheck
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When I put the new Velvet Revolver CD in my Windows computer and the auto play ran it, it immediately asked for permission to connect to a server and download some sort of "digital key". I said no and it popped out the disk, but it also installed a driver named "SbcdHid" without my permission. With this driver there the output of the CD would skip. I had to remove that driver and then insert the CD with auto pay turned off (which it is now set permanently) just to be able to listen to it on my computer.

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JasonE is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 04:26 AM
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JasonE
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This is not new.

right shift or disabling autorun will defeat it.

http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~jhalderm/cd3/

This was back in September 2003.

-Jason

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Mikkel_Knight is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 07:21 PM
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Anyone who has "autoplay" turned on often deserves what they get...

just my .02...

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f0gax is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 08:43 PM
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f0gax
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The "virus" in the Beastie Boys CD is only present in Europe (excluding UK). The US and UK get "naked" versions of the disc. I have successfully ripped my copy and loaded it on my iPod. No troubles.

That Velvet Revolver abomination is loaded with nasty DRM. Please avoid it entirely.

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scooterboy is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 09:28 PM
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scooterboy
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Hmm - I've always thought the virus on Beastie Boys CDs was the "music" itself...

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SparkleMotion is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:10 PM
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SparkleMotion
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quote:
Originally posted by f0gax
The "virus" in the Beastie Boys CD is only present in Europe (excluding UK). The US and UK get "naked" versions of the disc.
Yes...the article above clearly specifies this.

The concern, of course, is that the practice exists at all. So it's not in the US release...THIS TIME. What about the next big release?

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kdmorse is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:17 PM
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kdmorse
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Grrr..... Not over the action (which is bad enough), but over the article itself...

Is what they are doing bad? Yes. Do they deserve to be slapped into the next century? Yes. Is this news? Yes.

But the terms "Virus" and "Infect" are completely inappropriate. It is not a virus. There is no infection.

Sure, it's an evil thing. But the blatantly incorrect statements are inexcusable...

-Ken

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montag is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:23 PM
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montag
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quote:
Originally posted by scooterboy
Hmm - I've always thought the virus on Beastie Boys CDs was the "music" itself...


Agree, over-rated 40 year olds!

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doom1701 is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:24 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by kdmorse
Grrr..... Not over the action (which is bad enough), but over the article itself...

Is what they are doing bad? Yes. Do they deserve to be slapped into the next century? Yes. Is this news? Yes.

But the terms "Virus" and "Infect" are completely inappropriate. It is not a virus. There is no infection.

Sure, it's an evil thing. But the blatantly incorrect statements are inexcusable...

-Ken



Technically, how is this not a virus? It "infects" the computer by modifying the system and hindering it's capabilities. Since it doesn't self replicate (God forbid the DRM crowd ever figure out a way to do that!), it's not a worm, but the terms "virus" and "infect" seem to be a good fit, although perhaps the term "Trojan" would be better than "virus".

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AaronD is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:26 PM
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AaronD
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quote:
Originally posted by kdmorse
Grrr..... Not over the action (which is bad enough), but over the article itself...

Is what they are doing bad? Yes. Do they deserve to be slapped into the next century? Yes. Is this news? Yes.

But the terms "Virus" and "Infect" are completely inappropriate. It is not a virus. There is no infection.

Sure, it's an evil thing. But the blatantly incorrect statements are inexcusable...

-Ken


Virus: a computer program usually hidden within another seemingly innocuous program that produces copies of itself and inserts them into other programs and that usually performs a malicious action

Sounds like a virus to me. Why don't you think it qualifies?

- It's a computer program
- It's hidden in an innocuous program
- It copies itself and inserts into other programs
- It performs a malicious action

Just curious, not trying to give you a hard time. I love semantics!

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KRS is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:33 PM
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360,000 US copies in its first week!

/wonders how many sales were exported to Europe

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hawkamer is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:34 PM
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hawkamer
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Reps from the band posted that the DRM "does NOT install spyware or vaporware of any kind on a users PC." It's so surprising that someone working for a record label would be clueless with regards to technology!

Some of the Windows-based DRM installs programs that "mess" with your CD-ROM driver. To me, that's pretty close to a virus.

Since this stuff is widespread in Europe, I think it's only a matter of time before most albums are crippled in the U.S., too.

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kdmorse is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:41 PM
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kdmorse
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In order to be a virus it must have the ability the spread FROM an infected computer with human assistance, which this does not. A worm of course can spread from an infected computer without human assistance. A Trojan would be an ok fit, but not really. You are being tricked into installing it, but you also legally agree to having it installed because it is documented in the CD leaflet, and when inserting the CD into a computer you are implicitly agree to the printed license agreement (in tiny unreadable print of course) that you will never read. So it's not really a trojan, as it does exactly what it says it will do, even if it's not expected or wanted.

Malware is probably best. Inserting the CD installs Malware onto your machine through autoplay. All perfectly legal under current laws, except possibly in Utah. It may fall afoul of Utah's anti-spyware laws, the status of which I forget (I think they were struck down as unconstitutional?).

Now, I'm not defending it. It's evil, and more importantly, doomed to fail. Having just discovered that two weeks worth of system crashes were caused by the copy of CDilla the Mechwarrior 4 silently installed, the entire idea irritates the hell out of me. Anyone who installs something on your machine without your express and informed consent needs to be shot.

But it's not a virus...

-Ken

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SparkleMotion is offline Old Post 06-29-2004 10:44 PM
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SparkleMotion
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People (by and large--particularly non-tech-types) are not keyed to respond to a term like "malware" yet.

But say "virus" and you get people's attention.

I don't have a problem with their headline suggesting a viral infection, so long as the body of the piece delineates the specifics of the infection accurately.

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