Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl and the Sony Rootkit

BRMC’s Howl is one of my favorite albums. I listen to it all the time. Mostly for the song “Ain’t No Easy Way Out”. I’m a sucker for acoustic rock songs, though I love the whole album. But I’d never recommend the album to any of my friends. Why? It could damage your computer.

Sony, in their never ending quest to punish their customers, put an auto-installing root kit on the CD. If you purchase the CD and listen to it on your computer the root kit will silently will install itself, phone home to Sony, hide all files that begin with ‘$sys$’, as well as cause occasional crashes and lockups. Attempts to remove the rootkit will disable your cdrom.

For more information check out this article. There was a class-action lawsuit against Sony because of the damage caused by the rootkit that was settled in 2005. But there’s still a ton of these CDs floating around out there so be careful.

But there’s hope! Now thanks to Amazon I can finally recommend this album to friends as a mp3 download. I recommend you give it a listen.

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