Friday, May 6, 2011

Why Sony and I aren't friends.

In mid-April, Sony’s PlayStation Network, which allows PlayStation console owners to play games with other PlayStation owners through the internet, was hacked. It was not immediately apparent to Sony, who owns the PlayStation family of products, that the PSN, or PlayStation Network, was hacked. The breach was detected after Sony was detecting some strange amounts of traffic coming in from a device other than a PlayStation. Sony hired an outside security firm to analyze their network for any possible intrusion. The results came in as positive. The PSN was hacked by a small group of hackers.

The PlayStation Network breach is known to be one of the worst Internet service interruptions ever, as witnessed by its customers, whom were not able to access the network for the past three weeks. Undoubtedly, this has upset PlayStation owners quite a bit. And to make matters worse, PlayStation Network users have had their data compromised. This data includes user names, email addresses, and all gaming achievements, or virtual goods unlocked on the PSN. Sony also notes the “possibility” that billing information could have also been compromised as well.

To combat this problem, Sony has emailed their PlayStation Network users to change their passwords once the service is officially restored. Unfortunately, the service has not been restored and Sony is still investigating the issue. Sony’s CEO, Howard Stringer has commented on the security breach, however, I don’t think his comment is relevant so I decided to leave it out.

I’m appalled by the poor communication of Sony and how Sony has not provided an adequate response to the security nightmare. The lack of good communication really goes to show you cannot put your complete trust into a corporation’s network. Although Sony’s communication on the matter was poor, I do not believe PSN users will leave in a mass exodus.

Sony used strange words, in their email to customers, to cover up and to make an inaccurate generalization of the problem. It was more than evident that Sony’s ability to handle PR issues is quite poor. However, if Sony would’ve had a better equipped PR team, then maybe users might’ve been less outraged.

The true reason I’m writing on this issue is because of the security aspect. Of course, I can’t speak regarding Sony’s security practices, since I have no affiliation with them, but I can say this. Sony has no intention of making security a number one priority on a free service, such as the PlayStation Network. Their number one priority is to make a good profit off PlayStations, games, and other digital content and services. If Sony would only learn from all the other security breaches that occurred in the past year, then maybe they wouldn’t be in this mess right now.

In summary, the Sony PSN breach is serious. Users’ data was compromised and left every user vulnerable. What I find ironic is that everyone including the media has taken this situation seriously. Well, everyone except Sony that is. Not that I'm bitter. After all, I don’t own a PlayStation.

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