Friday, May 6, 2011

The Great Internet Heist

Sony fell victim to the one of the biggest security breaches and information heists in the history of the Internet last month. The Japanese tech and entertainment giant began investigating unusual activity on its PlayStation network on the 19th of April. One week later Sony notified network users that the personal data of more than 100,000 million of them had been compromised by hackers.

The PlayStation network serves not just users of the popular gaming system but also users who download music or movies through Sony's iTunes-like Qriocity server. Details released by Sony indicate the breach may have compromised information such as credit card data, email addresses and other personal data.

Sony has since been criticized for being slow to inform users and indeed to react in general to the crisis. But in truth it seems that the consumer technology giant has been caught well off-guard in this case and their slow reaction time is in part due to the time it took them to figure out what had actually happened.

As of this morning service on the PlayStation network is still down and the company is implementing damage control measures in the form of complimentary entertainment downloads and free 30-day membership to premium services. The company has also promised to implement new security measures including an identity-theft protection program for U.S.-based account holders.

Sony is certainly in the mood to play nice in order to placate users into staying. Certainly the company will emerge from this crisis as a much harder target for hackers to hit. But with the damage already done, it remains to be seen whether or not anything Sony does will be enough to earn back user-trust.

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