Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Sony Can’t Seem to Catch a Break From the Hacker Set

Anyone working in computer security at Sony must be ready to brand 2011 an annus horribilis, because even though the Playstation Gaming Network, down for 26 days after an attack last month, is back up and running, the hacks just keep on coming. And so do the questions from governments and others around the world.

Today, for instance, regulators with the City of Taipei are asking Sony about personal information compromised in the attack.

This comes on top of numerous attacks on Sony properties around the world. On Tuesday, a Sony Ericsson site in Canada was attacked and information on some 2,000 customers was compromised. A site in Thailand was attacked and made to send false emails intended to steal personal information. In addition to that, another Sony affiliated site in Indonesia was shut down in order to investigate the possibility that it may have been attacked. And there was yet another attack on a Sony site in Greece, involving the compromise of information on 8,500 customers, which was posted online.

The ongoing mess from the Playstation hack helped contribute to Sony reporting its biggest annual net loss in nearly two decades for the year ended March 31. The other big factor–much bigger, in fact–was impact from the Japanese earthquake earlier this year.

Never given to dramatic overstatements, Bloomberg News is calling the Playstation Network breach the “second largest online data breach in U.S. history.” The biggest, of course, was the breach of Heartland Payment Systems, for which someone was arrested in 2009 and ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Sony attack may not be the “biggest” per se but some graphic artist has described it as the “most significant digital theft in history,” and so it may be. The infographic below comes to you from Richard Scott Designs in the U.K., and it’s the sort of thing I wish I could make. It tells the story about as well as anyone else has so far. Click to see it larger if you need to.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus