Feeds

Did PlayStation Network hackers plan supercomputer botnet?

Sony 'arrogance' fuels Doomsday scenario

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Sony 'arrogance' undermines security

“If you can't jailbreak it, then I can see a developer assuming that they don't need a particular authorization check on what's coming across the wire because a user can't do that,” said WhiteHat Security CTO Jeremiah Grossman, an expert in web application security. “So if somebody managed to jailbreak their device and pop a flaw, I can see something major happening there.”

Hotz, the PS3 jailbreaker who recently settled the copyright lawsuit Sony brought against him, said in a recent blog post that the theory is plausible and that responsibility for the hack lay squarely on the shoulders of Sony executives who placed too much trust in the invulnerability of the PS3.

“Since everyone knows the PS3 is unhackable, why waste money adding pointless security between the client and the server?” Hotz, aka GeoHot, wrote. “This arrogance undermines a basic security principle, never trust the client. Sony needs to accept that they no longer own and control the PS3 when they sell it to you.”

Of course, the cause of the hack and the motivation of those behind it are pure speculation. A SQL injection attack, which uses ordinary user input to pass powerful commands to a website's backend database, might also have been at play, as could any number of other exploits.

What's clear from the information stolen, the possibility that encrypted payment card data was also taken, and the amount of time the PSN has been unavailable (nine days at time of writing), is that the attackers had access to the very core of Sony's system – its database or web application system, for instance – and that this access lasted for hours or days.

PSN users are already lining up in court to sue Sony over the colossal security failure.

According to Sony's bare-bones account, the information was compromised from April 17 to April 19. By the following day, the PSN was taken offline. That means the scenario raised by Ray, the researcher who said attackers may have wanted to build their own supercomputer botnet, almost certainly didn't have enough time to unfold.

But he said users shouldn't assume anything until they get more information.

“In the meantime, I recommend that everyone unplug the network cable and disable the WiFi from their PS3 until the all-clear signal is given from Sony,” he wrote. “Ideally that signal would take the form of a disclosure of information in sufficient detail for us to come to our own judgment about the security of these systems going forward before we allow them back on our internal networks again.” ®

Bootnote

Kevin Poulsen of Wired.com spins an engaging yarn about Trixter. Referring to the chat log, Poulsen writes: "The parts of the discussion that delve into Sony’s security posture appear eerily prescient in the wake of the intrusion that exposed personal information on 77 million users, and copies of the chats are now lighting up gaming blogs and Twitter feeds."

More unconfirmed bread crumbs, these ones strongly suggesting sony.com2.us was hacked. That, of course, ain't Sony's.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.