Homeland security urges DRM rootkit ban

By Derek Sooman on
A senior Department of Homeland Security exec has warned that tougher laws and regulations might be proposed over the use of DRM rootkit technology.

Sony came in for yet more criticism after it emerged that SunComm's MediaMax anti-piracy software, used as an alternative to First4Internet's XCP program on Sony BMG CDs shipped in the US and Canada, also created a security risk. The first version of the patch released to address the SunnComm MediaMax version 5 software had a flaw of its own. Security researchers are currently reviewing a second patch.

DHS officials had a meeting with Sony BMG shortly after the story broke during which the entertainment reps were read the riot act. "The message was certainly delivered in forceful terms that this was certainly not a useful thing," Jonathan Frenkel, director of law enforcement policy with the DHS's Border and Transportation Security Directorate, said.

Government officials are concerned that a repeat of something similar to Sony's rootkit antics could leave consumers' systems open to hacker attack.

"The recent Sony experience shows us that we need to be thinking about how to ensure consumers aren't surprised by what their software is programmed to do," said Frenkel.

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