The only surprise is that it wasn’t Number 1

PC World: The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time. The article covers 50 tech products that were so egregiously bad that they made the Hall of Shame for all time. Our favorite—Sony BMG music CDs—hit at number 5 on the list, behind AOL, the 1999 version of RealPlayer, Syncronys SoftRAM, and Windows ME. PC World’s write-up of our favorite rootkit vendor says:

When you stick a music CD into your computer, you shouldn’t have to worry that it will turn your PC into a hacker’s plaything. But that’s exactly what Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s music discs did in 2005. The discs’ harebrained copy protection software installed a rootkit that made it invisible even to antispyware or antivirus software. Any moderately clever cyber attacker could then use the same rootkit to hide, say, a keylogger to capture your bank account information, or a remote-access Trojan to turn your PC into a zombie.

Security researcher Dan Kaminsky estimated that more than half a million machines were infected by the rootkit. After first downplaying the problem and then issuing a “fix” that made things worse, Sony BMG offered to refund users’ money and replace the faulty discs. Since then, the record company has been sued up the wazoo; a federal court judge recently approved a settlement in the national class action suit. Making your machine totally vulnerable to attacks–isn’t that Microsoft’s job?

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