Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Sony's Howard Stringer Talks About the PlayStation Hack (Audio)

Now that Sony’s Playstation Network is back up and running–at least in North America–following a hacking attack that forced the Japanese electronics giant to shut it down about three weeks ago, the company’s senior executives are finally talking. However, they’re not talking much about what exactly happened or how.

Those details will, I think, eventually emerge, either as part of a criminal prosecution or via the bragging of the person who did it. But for now Sony is keeping the technical details that it knows to itself.

Sony today held a press conference in New York with CEO Howard Stringer and PlayStation unit head Kaz Hirai appearing via a live video link from Japan. I’ve put together a few audio highlights from the event below.

One bit of news not included in the audio: Stringer told me that there is no longer any consideration being given to offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or people who carried out the attack. “We determined it’s not appropriate,” he said.

He also told me, as you’ll hear, that the use of an Amazon Web Services account was not involved in the attack, as had been reported earlier in the week. “We have no evidence of that,” he said.

Asked about the time it took Sony to notify its users about the breach that exposed some 10 million credit cards, he said that other companies who have suffered breaches often take a month or more to notify their customers, and that by comparison Sony’s response was relatively fast.

One other thing we still don’t know: The financial impact to Sony. It reports quarterly earnings next week and will likely disclose at least some of the impact from lost revenue and efforts to pay for identity theft insurance for victims. Chances are, however, the full financial impact won’t be known for some time.

Sony-presser05172011 by ahess247

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi had a one-on-one interview with Stringer today.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik