Hackers Threaten Sony Playstation Network With More Outages
On Tuesday night, Sony Computer Entertainment forget to alert gamers that PlayStation Network was going to be down briefly for scheduled maintenance. The site is being prepped for an upgrade that will provide a more streamlined service for gamers. But given the cyber attack on April 20 that compromised over 77 million user accounts and crippled the company for over a month, alarm bells were sounded in the media. But Sony said this was a routine, and brief, scheduled shutdown.
Ironically, Sony Corporation and Sony Computer Entertainment sent out a press release yesterday announcing that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services in Japan will be fully restored today. This will complete the restoration of the sites worldwide, following enhancements to the overall security of the network infrastructure.
But according to ex-hacker Gregory Evans, Sony’s site will never be fully secure. Nor will any gaming site.
“Sony’s site will be hacked again soon,” said Evans. “There’s no such thing as a 100% secure network. The moment they said their site is now secure, they’re inviting hackers to come break into their network. The only way any network is 100% hacker proof is if it unplugged from the outside world. If you have traffic coming in and out for e-mails, if you have a wireless network, if you’re supporting online games, you’re going to get hacked.”
Just as Sony started to right its ship, various hackers have kept busy bringing down other video game sites. In June, hackers announced they had broken into Bethesda Games’ site to steal user names and passwords from games like Brink and Call of Cthulhul. Epic Games’ site and forums were also hacked for similar information from fans of its Gears of War games. But neither company held credit card information for users. Most recently, Sega’s online gaming service, Sega Pass, was compromised. Over 1.3 million users had their user email addresses, dates of birth and encrypted passwords stolen.
“The hacker they arrested that broke into PlayStation Network was 19 years old,” said Evans. “It’s a game to them. These hackers are no match for the IT guys big companies like Sony, Sega and Bethesda are hiring to protect their systems.”
Evans, who served time in federal prison for hacking into AT&T, MCI and Sprint, doesn’t believe this trend of hacking into game companies will stop any time soon. In fact, he believes big companies will continue to suffer from cyber attacks because of the people they hire to protect users’ valuable personal data.
Evans now works legitimately through Ligatt Security International to help protect companies from hackers. He said one loophole he’s seen in Los Angeles with big companies like Electronic Arts, Square-Enix and Vivendi are wireless networks that beam out beyond the secure buildings.
“I’ve been around these big game companies in LA and I’ve seen their wireless networks on my laptop,” said Evans. “It’s very easy to crack a wireless network and hack into a big company that way.”
Evans pointed to Albert Gonzalez, the mastermind behind one of the largest known identity fraud cases in the U.S., who’s now serving 20 years in federal prison. Gonzalez and his group hacked into wireless networks and stole millions of credit card and debit card numbers from retailers like T.J.Maxx, BJ's Wholesale Club, and Barnes & Noble.