Sony XCP DRM copy protection software installs rootkit - on Sony and EMI music CD

This page only discusses the XCP copy protection software. I've been told that the Suncomm copy protection software is also bad, but that is covered elsewhere.

Updated list of Sony CD that install dangerous rootkit on your computer

Here is a list of the Sony and EMI CD that contain the XCP software. If you have played one of these CD on your PC then you are infected.

Aurora also sells a version of the XCP software to prevent DVD copying. There is at least one report that the DVD version of XCP disables both CD and DVD writing on computers that play the DVD. The Madagascar DVD is reputed to do this.

Background information for those who came in late

The "XCP" copy protection on certain Sony music CD installs rootkit software to hide the copy protection software from the computer owner.

This problem only affects Microsoft Windows computers. Apple Mac users are safe from this particular flaw.

That Sony rootkit is now being used by virus authors to hide their viruses from antivirus software. There is a background article on it at

Un-installing the XCP software by simply deleting the files will cause your CD drive to stop working. There is a very technical explanation at

Sony provides an un-install utility. However, the un-install has a bug in it (as of 17 November 2005) that causes it to install another security flaw (in ActiveX) that has already been exploited by malicious hackers. See info at

Information on XCP hiding viruses is at

Symantec now provides a free XCP removal tool at but I haven't tried it to see if it works.

There are complicated manual removal procedures at and but I haven't tried removing XCP and I don't know if they will work. You may need the Rootkit Revealer software from the nice people at Sysinternals just to find the files so you can delete them.

There are instructions for patching the security hole that the Sony un-installer creates at and

If you are infected then you can visit the website or else go to and search for the words
xcp class action lawsuit

You can avoid being infected by not buying music CD from Sony and EMI. To be doubly sure, don't buy anything else from Sony either. Sony got into the music business by purchasing CBS Records, which is infamous for creating the evil CBS Copycode copy protection system. So the next copy protection scheme from Sony will be even worse.

Note: Information on this page was last updated on 2 December 2005.

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