Even as the Japanese electronic giant promises the long-waited return of PlayStation Network (PSN) by June 5, Sony's nightmare does not seem to end. A group of hackers have just warned an imminent attack on Sony.
Having been targeted by hackers over and over again in the past couple of months, Sony struggles to recover its bruised reputation in the dawn of the most serious cyber attack, with its network security failures leaving the company with a potential loss of $1 billion.
LulzSec, a hacker group that took responsibility for an attack on Sony BMG's Japanese website a week ago, said on Twitter on May 27, We're working on another Sony operation. We've condensed all our excited tweets into this one: this is the beginning of the end for Sony. A follow-up twee yesterday added, #Sownage (Sony + Ownage) Phase 1 will begin within the next day. We may have a pre-game show for you folks though. Stay tuned. As of this writing, no further updates related to Sony have been posted, according to 1Up.
LulzSec has just hijacked the US PBS website to publish a fake story saying that rapper Tupac was still alive and was living in New Zealand with Notorious B.I.G.
The unceasing cyber attacks on Sony is believed to be in response to Sony's treatment of hacker George Hotz, who was responsible in part for the PlayStation 3's root key being discovered. George announced his efforts and successes to hack the Sony PlayStation 3, a console widely regarded as being the only fully locked and secure system of the seventh generation era. Responding with a lawsuit, Sony demanded Hoz to erase the codes published on his website and to give all the IP addresses of the website users. In March 2011, Sony and Hotz settled in permanent prohibition of the codes and withdrawing from the lawsuit.
Sony's aggressive pursuit of a young hacker has caused a great controversy among security experts, and the company criticized for its unfriendly and obstinate treatment of hackers.
Microsoft gives a great lesson from its recent encounter with a hacker, a situation that was handled much better than the mess Sony caused.
When a 14 year-old boy in Ireland attempted to phish Xbox Live, Microsoft quickly took action to block the players' information from leaking. Microsoft then worked with the young hacker to further develop his talent to be used for more legitimate purposes, according to Microsoft GM Paul Rellis. This contrasting attitude of Microsoft and Sony tells much about the softened boundaries of software companies and hackers. The once hate-hate relationship is becoming more friendly and mutually beneficial.
Among hackers are those called White-hat hackers, or freelance security experts who specialize in penetration testing to ensure the security of information systems. They would look for vulnerabilities in software and sometimes develop exploits or tools to take advantage of them.
Major software companies that already have security teams may not need hackers, but many of them recognize the benefit of a harmonious relationship and the downside of a hostile one.
Some recognize and reward the hackers for their efforts, by giving public credit for problem identification or offering paid job positions. Mozilla, for example, was one of the first to pay these white hats for coming to them with a solution as well as a problem. Google ensures the hacking community is aware that it is following suit and offering a bounty on every one they report.
While Google pays hackers and Adobe praises them, Sony sues and pursues them. Perhaps the Japanese corporate culture has a totally different mentality of enclosed and proprietary systems, rather causing a backfire. Sony is now the main target of hackers who seem to outwit the company's outdated obstinacy.
To restore the diminishing faith of its loyal customers and prevent further cyber attack, Sony is urged to change something more than just the users' passwords. Instead of insisting we are the victims of hacker attacks, Sony may want to pursue a peaceful relationship with the hackers before it's too late.