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10 Sleazy Moves by Everyday Companies

The wrong note
Sony (SNE) is a giant electronics company with a big problem -- a recent PlayStation network's hacker attack, ongoing outage and potential loss of customer data. But that's not an example of Sony sleaze.

For that, think back to 2005, when people still bought compact discs.

In an opening salvo against those no-goodniks who stash copyrighted songs onto their computers, Sony decided it might be a great idea to bury "rootkit" copy protection software into its CDs. Unfortunately, that software made unauthorized changes to the operating system of anyone who so much as played the music on their computer. These changes not only crashed many computers and slowed their performance, but cracked open an easy exploit for hackers (and exploit it they did).

Class-action lawsuits and action by state attorneys general followed, and Sony eventually paid out a $4 million settlement that included $175 payments to customers it inconvenienced.

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