Bruce Schneier has published a solid wrapup of the controversy over Sony’s rootkit, from its original discovery by Mark Russinovich to Sony’s meandering attempts to respond. He also asks a pointed question — why haven’t antivirus software makers done a better job of responding to this problem? He points out that Symantec’s response has been tepid.
The company that makes the anti-virus software I use, Grisoft makes no mention at all of the rootkit on their Web site. (Granted, we’re talking about spyware rather than a virus here, if you want to be technical.) Spybot, the well-regarded anti-spyware tool, doesn’t mention it on their updates page either. Something tells me that none of these companies want to run afoul of Sony’s legal department or be accused of providing tools to thwart copy protection.
Interestingly, anti-spyware software provider Lavasoft mentions the XCP software on its blog, but not whether their products will do anything about it. To its credit, Microsoft has announced that its anti-spyware tool will remove XCP. Maybe they’re the only company in this market that feels confident locking horns with Sony.