playstation-network-back-onlineSince Wednesday, April 20th, Sony’s PlayStation Network has been offline, much to the dismay of gamers all over the world. My poor husband, who has been on vacation from his stressful job this week, was looking forward to playing. A lot. This couldn’t have come at a worse time for him, especially since most of the days have been rainy. He can’t even go outside and work on lawn projects! So he has definitely been bummed that he can’t play right now.

The reason that the PSN is down is a big one: cybercriminal(s) hacked into the network by making a purchase and using a known vulnerability to get access. According to Sony, this was a carefully planned and complex attack. So what else do we know? Between April 17th and April 19th, the network was hacked into, revealing names, addresses, handles, birthdays, email addresses, and passwords of 77 million users. This also includes Sony Online Entertainment customers. Ouch. Well at least out of those 77 million people, only 10 million of them had actually entered credit card information (which Sony does, in fact, encrypt). Thankfully my husband is NOT one of those 10 million.

The attacker(s) at this point are still unknown. Sony did tell Congress that they found a file named “Anonymous” on the Sony Online Entertainment server with a brief statement inside. Because of this, Sony is pointing fingers at the self-described hacktivist group Anonymous. Anonymous, however, is denying having anything to do with the breach, even though they did launch DoS (Denial of Service attacks) on the network earlier in April. Apparently, the hacktivist group was trying to bring to light the fact that there is a problem with Sony’s internal server but stopped before the security breach attack. playstation-controller

There seems to be news about “compromised data” all the time. Working in the and credit card processing industry, this is something that I am very aware of. There is a very strict set of standards that must be followed in order to protect people’s credit card information. But even if you do everything right, there’s still a chance that someone will find a vulnerability in your system that you didn’t know about and then you’ve got a big problem on your hands.

But really, the most important question is: When will the PlayStation Network be back online? The first date that I heard was May 4th but that’s come and gone. And I just checked in with my husband and he still can’t play so he’s pouting on the couch as I write this.  I hope it’s soon because his last day of vacation is tomorrow!

[Photo credit #1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smason/5853130/]

[Photo credit #2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/williamhook/2504635517/]

 



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