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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sony Tries Distraction

Sony, being busy dodging requests from Congress to appear at hearings, has at least sent some answers to Congressional questions about their security breach. In a classic move, Sony attempts to dangle a shiny object in front of observers to see if they can deflect attention away from the real problem.

The shiny object is this: Kazuo Hirai noted in a letter to Congress that "that the intruders had planted a file on one of our Sony Online Entertainment servers named 'Anonymous' with the words 'We are Legion." So now we're all supposed to focus on how Sony is just the poor victim of those nasty hackers.

The real problem, of course, is Sony's poor security and why a hacker was able to break in, regardless of who exactly the hacker is. Sure, chase down the hacker(s) and throw them in jail; hanging's too good for them. But why was Sony's security so weak, and what steps are they taking to ensure this won't happen again, why should we believe them, and what are they going to do for their customers and developers?

I understand why Sony would like to focus on the hackers, but let's keep our attention on the core problems. Sony needs to deal with its issues at the same time as they look for the bad guys. It's called multitasking, and Sony should be capable of that.

The funny thing is this whole problem with Anonymous arose because Sony decided, in a firmware update, to remove support for Linux on the PS3. Now, this was a feature that perhaps 99.9% of the PS3 owners knew nothing about, nor cared. Some hardcore techheads could buy a PS3 and install Linux on it, and a have a pretty spiffy little computer for their trouble. Yet Sony decides they have to go and eliminate that capability... perhaps because they were worried some hacker might use that to subvert a game or two, or some such thing. All they really managed to do was unleash a series of attacks and incidents... they should have just left well enough alone.

At this point, Sony has to move on and figure out how to restore their reputation. Their appearance at E3 should show how they intend to deal with their PR problems; we'll see if they make some good moves.

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