Post Sun May 01, 2011 9:28 am

Sony Apologizes, Details PlayStation Network Attack


By Martyn Williams, IDG News    May 1, 2011 4:00 am

Sony's PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services will begin a phased resumption this week, after the company took them offline in response to a "very sophisticated" intrusion, the company said Sunday.

Online gaming and access to unexpired movie rentals will be the first services to return on the PlayStation Network, while Qriocity users will be able to use the Music on Demand service. Other functions, including the PlayStation Store, will be available by mid-May, said Kaz Hirai, head of Sony's gaming division, during a rare Sunday news conference.

"We'd like to extend our apologies to the many PlayStation Network and Qriocity users who we worried," said Hirai. "We potentially compromised their customer data. We offer our sincerest apologies."

Rebuilding After Attack

Sony took the two services offline on April 20 after an intrusion was detected on the network's servers, which live in an AT&T data center in San Diego. Sony discovered the intrusion after it was alerted to unusual network activity a day earlier, said Hirai. (See also PlayStation Network Hack Timeline.")

Sony initially responded by asking a computer security company to investigate the intrusion. When it became apparent that customer information could have been stolen, Sony employed a second specialist company, said Hirai.

The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into the attack, he said.



A little more...


User Data Status Uncertain

About 10 million accounts have credit card numbers associated with them, but Sony said it had no evidence those numbers were stolen. The credit card numbers, unlike the personal information, are stored in an encrypted database, although Sony has not said what encryption system was used.

Nevertheless, Sony advised customers to watch out for unusual activity on their credit card accounts. It has discovered no such cases so far, said Hirai. Sony will pay the cost of reissuing credit cards based on user requests.

The attack was launched from an application server that sits behind a web server and two firewalls on Sony's network, said Shinji Hasejima, Sony's chief information officer.

"It was a very sophisticated technique that was used to access our system," said Hasejima.

The initial attack was disguised as a purchase, so wasn't flagged by network security systems. It exploited a known vulnerability in the application server to plant software that was used to access the database server that sat behind the third firewall, said Hasejima.



For complete story:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/226799/s ... ttack.html

Don
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