PSN Hacking Blame

2011-05-01

It's pretty difficult not to notice the media attention directed at Sony at the moment, following the PSN breach last week. Names, addresses, passwords, secret questions and possibly even credit card information was viewed or copied when Sony's servers were hacked. Following days of speculation, Sony finally revealed that the worst had likely happened. Since then, the hackers themselves have been largely forgotten by the public, while full media ferocity, backed by bandwagon fans everywhere, has been targeted squarely at Sony, with class action lawsuits already produced, and page after page of internet ranting declaring this the most evil thing ever, and it's all Sony's fault.

It's perhaps not possible to declare Sony totally innocent, since there are always more protective measures that can be taken, and more money that can be spent improving data safety, but there's a limit, and hackers will eventually find a way to exceed that limit and cause others pain. A few messy PR statements and rumours have led random assortments of experts to state that Sony weren't providing adequate security, with some suggesting that passwords and other data were not encrypted. I suspect that nobody outside of Sony, and the group investigating the intrusion, oh, and the hackers, really know what sort of security is in place, but you can bet it's not a My First Password kit and the digital equivalent of a donut munching sleeping security guard. Major corporations get hacked - it's an unfortunate fact that we have to deal with.

Another area of criticism aimed at Sony was the slight delay between the network going down and the official press release stating that sensitive data could have been taken. If you're willing to accept that firms with digital assets can get hacked, great, but many were dismayed at the length of time before Sony let people know. It's a difficult point to argue, aside from the fact that Sony claim they didn't know for certain until less than 24 hours before their official press release, following the results of the investigative team. It'd take a brave, or possibly stupid, company to warn of the loss of bank details before they knew if such details were exposed. It's the sort of news that's very hard to put back in the bottle. That said, is it the sort of sensitive issue over which a company should always make the brave choice? Perhaps, but in this case, it's worth noting that there's not a single identified case of a person's account being tampered with as a result of the data loss. True, the effects could be longer lasting, with personal details out in the net, but with everyone watching their accounts or changing their details, is there a long-term effect that hasn't already been remedied by Sony's announcment?

Sony's possible failings aside, what's most frustrating is the lack of attention on the actual culprits. It's as if a bank robbery has resulted in raids on 50 million safety deposit boxes, but nobody seems to have noticed the crooks, since we're all staring at the bank's security. Many view the intrusion on Sony's servers as a sort of glory-hunting or politically-motivated move, as opposed to one of financial gain. It's almost viewed as being to say they could, rather than a method of grabbing money. Ironically, the media circus that has followed is essentially handing a massive win to the people responsible, if this is indeed their reason.

Personally, I'm slightly disappointed in Sony, slightly concerned for lost data (though partially remedied through a change of certain details) but, most strongly, I'm frustrated at the bizarre anger towards Sony, based on rumour and speculation. How about we take our pitchforks, news crews and near-endless internet resources and direct them at those truly responsible?

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