How “Dirty” MP3 Files Are A Back Door Into Cloud DRM
This is an article about DRM for streaming music as well as music that you download right now from Wal-mart or iTunes. Within the mp3 file the RIAA is secretly inserting personally identifiable information. This is a process known to the industry as watermarking. (If you ask me, it's closer to digital waterboarding.) This information stays in the file whenever its copied, so that the RIAA would be able to use the files as proof in a court case. They do this without asking or informing the consumer that they are buying esseentially a music file and an electronic tracking device. This is a blatant invasion of privacy by the RIAA. A system like this could easily be subverted to keep tabs on a person's location, to catelogue a person's contacts, or to deliver targeted viruses. All a hacker has to do is find the personally identifiable information in the file that he or she purchased and write a function to look for a string in the same place in an mp3 file and put that in a virus that searches for all mp3 files. Once personally identifiable information is found, an IP address can be obtained and a simple web-search will tell the hacker where you live (or are at the moment, if it happens to be a mobile connection). Any computers that report the same personally identifiable information are labeled as the contact or an associate of the contact. New viruses can then be created that only deliver payloads to people with said personally identifiable information on their machines. Scary, huh?
I try not to complain too often without providing some sort of solution. In this case, the solution is simple. The RIAA wants to watermark every mp3 sold, but not everyone has agreed to play by those rules. Amazon at the moment is not bowing to pressure and does not use digital watermarks in their mp3 sales.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Hero Programmer Quest is a great little (emphasis on little) C++ flash game/bug-finding-ability-trainer. It gives you ten seconds to find the bug on a new page of code. Fail to pick out the bug and the world blows up. Succeed and see the totally worth-it winning sequence...