Sony blames Anonymous for PlayStation Network data theft debacle

Anonymous_sony_PSN_PlayStation_NetworkIn response to a Congressional subcommittee’s inquiry into the massive data breach of its PlayStation Network that exposed the personal data of more than 100 million gamers, Sony claims to have evidence that those responsible are part of the infamous international hacktivist group “Anonymous.”

“Sony has been the victim of a very carefully planned, very professional, highly sophisticated criminal cyber attack,” writes Patrick Seybold, senior director of communications for Sony, in a summary of its letter to Congress, which was posted to the PlayStation Blog. “We discovered that the intruders had planted a file on one of our Sony Online Entertainment servers named ‘Anonymous’ with the words ‘We are Legion.”

Anonymous has admitted to conducting a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on Sony’s website as part of #OpSony, launched in retaliation against Sony’s lawsuit of PlayStation 3 jailbreak hacker George “GeoHot” Hotz. But the loose-knit group denies having any part in hacking the PSN, and insists they were not involved in any data theft of any kind. (See video below.)

In the full letter to the Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce Manufacturing and Trade, however, Sony board chairman Kazuo Hirai offers the theory that Anonymous launched the DDoS attack, which he says occurred “at or around the same time” as the security breach, as a smokescreen to cover for the breach of the PSN — a move that distracted Sony from the true threat to its network and made the company unable to detect the security breach.

Our security teams were working very hard to defend against denial of service attacks,” writes Hirai in the letter, “and that may have made it more difficult to detect this intrusion quickly — all perhaps by design.”

By the time the security breach occurred on April 16, however, Anonymous had officially called off #OpSony due to the fact that George Hotz had reached a settlement with the company. According to a statement released on AnonNews, Anonymous had moved its operations offline and into “the streets.”

Regardless of whether Anonymous intentionally diverted Sony’s security team for the sole purpose of initiating a “highly sophisticated criminal cyber attack designed to steal personal and credit card information for illegal purpose,” or was just in it for the LULZ, Sony still places the blame for the attack firmly on Anonymous’ ambiguous shoulders.

“Whether those who participated in the denial of services attacks were conspirators or whether they were simply duped into providing cover for a very clever thief, we may never know,” Hirai writes. “In any case, those who participated in the denial of serve attacks should understand that – whether they knew it or not – they were aiding a well planned, well executed, large-scale theft that left not only Sony a victim, but also Sony’s many customers around the world.”

Sony says that it has about 12.3 million credit cards on file through the PlayStation Network, with about 5.6 million of those belonging to parties within the United States. So far, Sony says its investigation has found no evidence that the PSN security breach has resulted in a single count of fraudulent activity.

Anonymous has not yet officially responded to this new, official round of finger pointing. But as Anonymous always says: “Expect us.”

UPDATE: Click here for Anonymous’ response to Sony’s accusations.

Product Review

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review

As our Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (late 2017) review shows, adding an 8th-gen Intel Core processor to an excellent thin and light chassis makes for a great combination.
Gaming

The N64 was an all-star console with a line-up of all-star games. These were the best.

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in August, from ‘Dark Tourist’ to 'Disenchantment'

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in August 2018, from ‘Her’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime brings more perks than just free two-day shipping. Subscribers get access to a huge library of TV shows to stream at no extra cost. Here are our favorite TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for something without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses with one of these handy services.
Computing

Logitech’s distinctive new ergonomic mouse looks as good as it feels

Logitech's first true ergonomic mouse sports an interesting tilted design that encourages less muscle strain. We spent some time with the MX Vertical to see how comfortable it is and determine whether or not we'd prefer it to a standard…
Computing

Both the Razer Blade and XPS 15 are capable laptops, but which is better?

We pit the latest Dell XPS 15 against the latest Razer Blade 15 to see which machine meets the needs of most people. Both are a fast, attractive, and well-built, but they still appeal to different users.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to stay safe online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper passcode manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options. Find the right password software…
Mobile

Airport’s low-tech solution to digital chaos involves the humble whiteboard

A U.K. airport has suffered a major computer error, caused by data connection problems, which has stopped flight boards from showing crucial passenger information. The solution is wonderfully low-tech.
Computing

Here’s how to watch Nvidia’s GeForce event at Gamescom

Today is August 20, and that means Nvidia may showcase its GeForce RTX 20 Series of add-in graphics cards for gamers. We’re sticking with that name rather than the previous GTX 11 Series brand due to today’s date.
Computing

HTC breaks down VR barriers by bringing Oculus Rift titles to Viveport

HTC's Viveport store and subscription service will be opened to Oculus Rift users in September this year, letting them buy titles directly and take advantage of the monthly game-delivery service.
Computing

Dell’s new fast-refresh Freesync display could be your next great gaming screen

Dell has debuted a pair of new gaming TN displays, each offering high refresh rates and fast response times to gamers alongside Freesync technology. There are 24- and 27-inch versions of the new screens available now.
Computing

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 Series starts at $500 and features real-time ray tracing

Nvidia revealed its new GeForce RTX 2000 Series of add-in desktop graphics cards for gamers during its pre-show Gamescom press event. The new family is based on Nvidia’s new “Turing” architecture focusing on real-time ray tracing.