How Safe Are We Online? – The PSN Story

I don’t know how many of you own a PlayStation 3, but if you do I would assume you would know by now that the PSN has been down for quite some time.

The PSN or PlayStation Network is Sony’s online community for Playstation 3 owners allowing users to game and chat together along with facilitating purchase of items such as game add-on packs and movies.

I first noticed a few weeks ago that our PS3 at home was intermittently dropping its link to the PSN service. Apparently at this time a Denial of Service (DoS) attack was taking place, which put Sony’s service under immense strain (by flooding it with data packets) and caused connection issues for many users.

Rumours were that a group of hackers known as ‘Anonymous’ were behind this attack, due to Sony’s pursuit of legal action against another hacker who was responsible for ‘jailbreaking’ the system software on the PlayStation 3. This lead to much uproar from the many online communities of tweakers and tinkerers and supposedly forced some of the more adventurous into action (‘Anonymous’ has subsequently denied any involvement).

Sony had their reasons to go after this individual, as the ‘jailbreak’ potentially enabled users to ‘backup games’ on internal storage, promoting piracy and illegal distribution of games and other copyrighted content.

A week or so later it the PSN network was no longer even accessible, infuriating many online gamers. Sony announced that its user database had been compromised and that not only usernames but passwords, names, addresses, phone numbers and potentially credit card numbers and expiry dates had been stolen. As a means of preventing this from ever occurring again, the service had to be pulled so that the vulnerability could be plugged.

Many people have since claimed that their credit cards had been used fraudulently, but also identity theft remains of serious concern in the aftermath of this event.

There were also circulating reports of the actual user database that was stolen in this attack, being sold to the highest bidder online.

To this day the network is still pretty much down (but as of today is slowly coming back online), costing Sony millions of dollars from having to disable the service, while it also has to cope with relocation of servers and rebuilding the network with much greater security in mind. Gaming developers are also experiencing significant loses in revenue, since the PSN service is often used to market games.

As has been shown again, there is no such thing as the perfect system, and the potential remains for anything that we give out online to be somehow stolen, as a result of acts of cybercrime.

Have many people here had any issues with giving out personal details online? Have you ever been a victim of fraudulent practices? Or are you just plain angry at Sony for pulling the PSN because you can’t play multiplayer CoD?

One Response to “How Safe Are We Online? – The PSN Story”

  1. rnield says:

    That’s kind of scary!!! Its amazing the skill these ‘hackers’ have, and how they can use them in retaliation!! I have had a virus on my computer which ended up crashing it. I think it was a trojan??? Anyway, it kept coming up with these anti virus programs and telling you that your computer was infected but you should buy the program so it can get rid of it. Luckily I didn’t enter in any of my details but if someone was panicking and didn’t know any different I’m sure they would, and before they know it their credit card number is out there for someone to use. Awful. I guess thats what you get when you attempt to illegally download a Kings of Leon album. Might just use i-tunes instead…