- Does SecuROM cause security vulnerabilities on PCs on which it is installed?
Adding a method to hide processes running on your system may be considered a security vulnerability. Such systems are usually used only by malware and legitimate software should NOT use any technology to counter the work of anti-virus software. Either your antivirus is weakend (which should be considered a security vulnerability) or "real" malware might also hide under the "invisibility cloak" set up by SecuROM to hide itself.
SecuROm may not be a security threat in itself, but it uses typical malware patterns and generally weakens your system security.
- Does SecuROM prevent applications - other than pirated copies of the game it is supposed to "protect" - from functioning on PCs on which it is installed?
OK, I'm recounting a user report on forum from years ago from the back of my memory here, so take this paragraph with a grain of salt: (may have been a similar copy protection system, if not exactly SecuROM)
I remember a user reporting a broken DVD writer. He bought a new one and replaced the "malfunctioning" drive only to find out that the new drive was also "broken". Turned out it was a DRM system that blocked the DVD writer and that user threw away a perfectly functioning DVD writer. Actual monetary damage here.
- Does SecuROM create any kind of "always on" background process that consumes resources and potentially reduces performance on PCs on which it is installed?
If it is not uninstalled with the software, it permanently eats up ressources that can't be reclaimed by the legitimate owner by uninstalling, as it is hiding itself from the computers software/process management system. (see "rootKit" in #1) As it is hidden, there is no indication that any problem showing up years after the deinstallation of a computer game (#2) might still be connected to a residual software component (read: garbage) from a casual game from a few years ago.
If the answer to any of the above is "yes" then obviously there is a fairly major problem here. If the answer to all of the above is "no", then I'm not quite sure what people are getting upset about given that we are talking about a free game (SecuROM being bundled with paid-for games is another issue entirely).
No. ESPESCIALLY for free games. Why add copy protection to free stuff anyway? It's free to begin with! No one needs or wants to "pirate" it. Unless of course you need a "pirated" copy of the game to keep the negative SecuROM effects from your system.