IT Security & Network Security News & Reviews: Sony PlayStation, Music Network Breaches: 10 Painful Security Lessons

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-18
 
 
 

Can Sony Be Trusted?

Now that the PlayStation Network breach has thrown Sony into an embarrassing spotlight, there are undoubtedly some consumers around the world that are wondering if the company can be trusted once PlayStation Network and Qriocity are back up. Its an understandable fear. Sony made a huge mistake with this security breach and it will take a lot of time and money to rebuild its standing among consumers. If Sony learns anything during this ordeal, its that rebuilding trust is extremely difficult.

Can Sony Be Trusted?

The Hackers Are a Step Ahead

Unfortunately, it seems that when it comes to the security space, the malicious hackers and cyber-criminals are still a step ahead of the security community. Not only did the sophisticated PlayStation Network attack foil Sonys security measures, but the only response Sony had was to shut it down. As Microsofts fight with cyber-criminals has proven over the years, its hard to get ahead of sophisticated attacks.

The Hackers Are a Step Ahead

The Issues Get Worse

Unfortunately for Sony, the issues related to the PlayStation Network breach are only getting worse. First, it was revealed that private information was stolen. Then Sony was forced to admit that credit card information, although reportedly encrypted, was lost as well. If nothing else, other online providers should learn that its easier to stop an attack from being successful, rather than fall victim to it and have to fix the many problems it caused afterward.

The Issues Get Worse

It's Easier to Steal Sensitive Data than Some Think

There is a common misconception on the part of Web users that when they share private information on the Internet over what is supposed to be a secure connection, their data will be kept safe. That assumption only leads to trouble. A secure Web connection is integral to maintaining safety, but it doesnt guarantee it. All Web users must keep that in mind.

It's Easier to Steal Sensitive Data than Some Think

Some Companies Are Better at Securing Data than Others

Though Sony wont like to hear it, some companies are simply better at protecting data than others. If the PlayStation Network breach is to be ones guide, its clear that Sony doesnt top that list. Admittedly, determining which firm does top the list is difficult. The most militant protectors of data never experience trouble, so their efforts go largely unnoticed. But if this issue does anything, it will inspire all technology companies that store sensitive data in the cloud to beef up their security measures. To not do so now would be criminal neglect.

Some Companies Are Better at Securing Data than Others

Even Seemingly Safe Practices Are Dangerous

When Sonys PlayStation Network users shared information through the online service, they never believed that they would be putting their data at risk. Many of those folks undoubtedly knew about the threats of phishing scams or downloading unknown software to their computers. They also knew not to share credit card numbers on unknown sites. But Sonys PlayStation Network seemed like a safe play. This breach should make all users aware that even so-called safe services are never really safe.

Even Seemingly Safe Practices Are Dangerous

It Doesn't End on Windows

There is a common misconception that Microsofts Windows platform is the biggest security hole for people around the globe. There are undoubtedly security problems that erupt on Windows, but to think that they end there is a mistake. Windows is just one of many places where security issues can erupt. As Sonys PlayStation Network breach has shown, consumers have serious misconceptions if they believe theyre safe when theyre not running Windows.

It Doesn't End on Windows

Lack of Openness Made the Situation Worse

All in all, Sony public disclosures about the network breaches looked slow and clumsy. For most of a week, Sony PlayStation users only knew that the network was down with no explanation why. Then Sony started dribbling out information and the breach got worse with each new disclosure. Sony said it was rebuilding its networks so customers could be assured their personal information was secure. But as of May 7, the networks were still down and there was chatter that intruders were still able to penetrate Sonys security measures. Sony has faced a rising chorus of criticism for a lack of openness that culminated in a congressional hearing to gather facts on what was actually going on at Sony.

Lack of Openness Made the Situation Worse

The Threats Don't Stop

If cyber-criminals are anything, theyre tenacious. As soon as they smell blood, theyre on to the next thing to see if they can take down another major service. Realizing that, consumers around the globe should be keeping close tabs on where their information is stored, and remove it from any place it might not be needed. The fewer places personal data is kept, the less the chances of a user being negatively affected by a security outbreak.

The Threats Don't Stop

It's Only Getting Worse

Unfortunately for both consumers and enterprise customers, the security issues currently plaguing them around the globe arent going to let up anytime soon. In fact, theyre only going to increase. Malicious hackers will continue to target desktop operating systems and online services, such as PlayStation Network. Theyre also turning their attention to mobile devices as more and more people buy smartphones and tablets. Simply put, the security problems affecting people around the globe are only going to become more frequent—and vicious.

It's Only Getting Worse

Rocket Fuel