Hackers responsible for the massive security breach of Sony’s PlayStation Network that left as much as 100 million users at risk of identity theft used an Amazon-run server to launch the attack, according to “a person with knowledge of the matter,” reports Bloomberg.
Rather than hijack Amazon’s server, the hackers allegedly used an alias to sign up for an account through Amazon’s EC2 service, and waged their cyber attack from there, says the unnamed source. The account is said to have been since shut down but the revelation that Amazon’s cloud network was used for one of the largest data breaches in US history could shed light on the perpetrators’ identities.
Neither Sony nor Amazon have yet been willing to confirm the allegation that an Amazon server was used for the breach.
Security expert E.J. Hilbert, president of Online Intelligence and a former cyber-crime agent for the FBI, tells Bloomberg that the FBI will likely subpoena Amazon as part of its investigation into the PSN hack.
“The subpoena will give law enforcement a history of the transactions,” said Hilbert. “The search warrant will get them more detailed information, including payment information and which credit card was used.”
Now a month after the attack, the PlayStation Network remains down. With the outage beginning to take a tangible financial toll on the gaming industry, Sony released a letter to game publishers this week in an attempt to explain the situation as best it can.
For PSN customers, Sony has offered a year’s worth of free identity protection through the AllClear ID Plus service, which gives users a $1 million insurance policy if their personal data is compromised.
As for the hackers, their identities remain unknown. But so far, evidence points to members of the “hacktivist” group Anonymous, though the group as a whole firmly denies any involvement, and has criticized Sony for its lack of a proper security infrastructure to keep its users’ financial information safe.