Does DRM Software Make Your Computer More Vulnerable To Attack?

When you take a look at the software on your computer you will see a mixture of software systems. Some of the software that you will see is done by professionals with huge budgets and a team of hundreds. The other software that you will see on your system is done by one or two programmers in their home office. You might even see some software on your computer that is done by a committee of dozens and all for free. This is known as the open source community and they have some of the best software around.

No matter how your software is made, there is a good chance that there is going to be a security hole in it. The bigger the program is, and the more lines of code that you have inside of it, the better the chance of there being a security issue.

This is the same issue the resolves around DRM software as well. With DRM you add another part of the system that will allow more lines of code and extra interaction with the underlying operating system that does not benefit the user.


What Is DRM And How Does It Affect My Computer?

The internet is known as the wild, wild west by some people. A lot of these people are in the content creation business. The reason why it is known as this is because there are a lot of people who are downloading data that they are not supposed to.

While some of the charges by the content creation companies are outrageous, there does need to be a system set up so that content creators can get paid fairly. But the content creation companies are going about it the wrong way in my opinion. They have tried a strategy that is known as DRM to try and protect their data.

DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and what it does is put a barrier between the content and the user. The software is designed to put restrictions on what you do with the data that is on your computer and for the most part the strategy limits the usage of the file.

To implement the DRM on your computer, the people who create the software have used numerous ideas. Some of these are relatively harmless and some of them are downright dangerous to the user’s machine.

The reason why some of the companies go this route is because the easier the DRM software is, the easier it is to bypass it so they try their best to make it so that you are not able to bypass their security but in the process they destroy your machine.

A couple of years ago a certain company tried to make some of their products really hard to bypass the security – what they did was to put a rootkit in the users system. A rootkit is a program that is able to dig into the kernel level in a system and not be seen by the operating system itself. A rootkit is what a lot of black hat hackers use to get a piece of malware into the system. When people started to find out that this is the kind of software that said company used for their DRM system there was a huge backlash and they were upset. The company in question soon made amends and promised that they would not use that type of software again.

What would those people do once a black hat hacker was able to find a back door in the system? The company that implemented this type of DRM would have made a gateway for a hacker to cause serious damage to a person’s computer.

Not The Only Way That DRM Can Harm The Security Of A Computer

As you saw in the last paragraph, one particular implementation of DRM put a potential serious security problem onto users’ computers in order to stop some of them from copying something. Putting a rootkit inside someone’s system is serious business but also adding the DRM software itself can be dangerous.

As I mentioned before, the amount of lines of code that is needed to create a DRM package is a lot. If even one of these lines of code has a security problem then the user is in trouble. You can check the level of security in a piece of software as much as you want but if the code is large enough, there is always a chance that there will be holes.

DRM has proven to be the wrong way to handle digital content management. At least, the way that they are doing it now is very dangerous.

Any time that a piece of software has the potential to cause you security problems it really needs to be examined for the good of the public. That is why so many content companies are starting to drop DRM from their products.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] But will that signify the end of DRM in games and devices? Most likely not, even though the use of DRM itself can, potentially, increase security risks. […]

Speak Your Mind