Sunday, February 9, 2014

Digital Rights Management Can (Potentially) Make Your Computer Less Safe!

Our readings this week consisted of the tangled web of red tape and regulations inherent with the licensing and use of digital media, which is a concept I read often about. I happened upon this article, describing how the use of draconian digital rights management (DRM), while super-secure for the owners of the media and content owners can actually wreak havoc on patron's and user's PCs.

In a typical IT ecosystem, security for operating systems and programs is consistently changing. Thanks to the security team and users constantly using the programs, they can keep finding exploits which can in turn be patched up and made into a more secure experience.

Certain content owners with DRM simply refuse to publish that there may be exploits in their systems. Since they don't publish, OS developers can't patch them. Since the OS developers can't patch them, user's PCs can be considered at risk. This isn't a hypothetical situation, either; in around 2005 Sony attempted to enforce a CD-Copy protection scheme that actually allowed some nasty malware to put many user's data seriously at risk.

This just reinforces how much a headache the digital rights management world is. Not only can copyright and DRM prevent people from accessing data, it could actually be fatal to their machines and privacy.

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