Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns was shot and everyone was a suspect, as he angered the whole town? Sony is in a similar position with its Playstation Network (PSN) breach.
Pointing fingers at any suspect is tough, as Sony has in the last couple months angered such a vast crowd in the digital world—particularly segments well versed in hacking and piracy. The company’s recent actions against hackers, digital privacy, and even basic rights over physical property have a whole lot of people angry. The breach and outage of PSN could have been caused by nearly anyone.
As of Sunday, PSN is still down, according to users on Twitter, meaning that gamers home on Easter break have no access to online play. Sony stated on April 23 that they are “working around the clock” to bring PSN and Qriocity back online, adding that “Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure.”
Sony has not named any suspects, but they did confirm it was due to an “external intrusion” on the network and they closed PSN down themselves to address the hack.
Sony’s legal campaign against renowned hacker George “GeoHot” Hotz won them a series of cyberattacks from digital activist group Anonymous Operations. The #opsony campaign ended after Sony let GeoHot off the hook, however, and AnonOps is denying any involvement in the recent breach.
Still, this doesn’t rule out the breach being remnant files leftover from an Anon trying to dig up juicy info on Sony. AnonOps typically uses DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks to overload servers and shut down websites, but their most successful case came when they hacked e-mails of security company HBGary and exposed the company’s illicit plots.
Next on the list is Sony’s more recent threats against German hacker Alexander Egorenkov. Right before PSN got pwned, Sony threatened Egorenkov and forced him to remove parts of his website, as it contained information on hacking the Playstation 3.
Sony is also under the gun for removing OtherOS functionality from the Playstation 3 in a firmware update — an act that may have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Right around when PSN was taken down, a Finnish court stated that Sony should have to pay for the OtherOS removal. OtherOS is a functionality that lets users install other operating systems on the Playstation 3, including Linux and FreeBSD. On a funny note, OtherOS is what made the U.S. military use the Playstation 3 in their Condor supercomputer — I wonder if the Air Force supercomputer was also impacted by Sony’s actions.
Last on the list, but certainly not the least, Sony dealt a major blow against user privacy rights when it won a court order to gain information on everyone who read, tweeted, or watched a video on hacking the Playstation 3. Twitter, YouTube, Bluehost, and Google Blogspot were all ordered to hand over information on users who checked out the info.
That said, Sony has made a lot of enemies. Still, it should not be ruled out that the breach is from cybercriminals wanting to profit amid the ruckus. It should also not be ruled that this could be a form of business espionage where someone is trying to gain information from Sony for their own gain.
Photo Credit:By Michel Ngilen from Des Moines, United States (Playstation 3) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.