Archive for April, 2011

Gamers hit back at Sony security breach

Posted April 28, 2011 By David Kolle

Gamers have attacked Sony for waiting a week before revealing a security breach in the PlayStation Network, with industry experts calling for tougher privacy laws.

Playstation 3

Sony Corporation today announced the credit card data of PlayStation users may have been stolen after hackers broke into its network, forcing its shutdown, on April 19.

Seventy-seven-million user accounts have been disconnected worldwide and experts have described the scale of the breach as staggering. More than 700,000 Australian consumers have been affected.

Colin Jacobs, chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), said the incident highlighted the need for legislation making it mandatory for companies to publicly announce a security breach as soon as happens.

“At the moment, companies can wait two days, five days, or more than a week, to let people know,” he said.

“We need to have an Australian law in place so that if a company knows that private information has been breached, they have to let the public know straight away.”

PlayStation users in Australia are being urged to change their passwords, usernames and pins, and monitor their credit usage.

“In this particular instance, the risk appears to be one of possible phishing targeting later on and that is unsolicited contact by email or telephone,” said NSW Police Force Fraud Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Col Dyson.

“Certainly, people should be changing … regularly not just their passwords but their usernames as well.”

PlayStation user Brendan Hill, 31, said the breach means he won’t buy any products online from Sony again.

“We just won’t ever purchase anything from them again,” he said, adding he was frustrated by the lack of communication from Sony.

“It (the PlayStation) basically kept saying there was a connection error our end… I know a bunch of people who spent three hours on their network trying to fix it.

“They should have put a statement up straight away saying that the network was down.”

Gamer Joel Connelly, from Sydney, said he was disappointed by Sony’s approach.

“They have almost let people believe that it was a harmless problem, when in actual fact they just weren’t telling us that someone might have our information,” the 29-year-old said.

“I was going to spend my Easter playing Call of Duty: Black Ops with my friends … but instead we actually hung out and got a drink.

“In a way, the hackers have liberated me from the tyranny of the PlayStation Network.”

Sony, in a statement released on the PlayStation blog, defended the time it took to respond to the security breach.

“It was necessary to conduct several days of forensic analysis, and it took our experts until yesterday to understand the scope of the breach,” said Patrick Seybold, Sony’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Social Media.

Sony warned customers to be “especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information”.

1 Comment. Join the Conversation
YouTube movies

YouTube is set to enter the on-demand movie market in a move that could ring the death-knell for DVD rentals in Australia.

The world’s largest video-sharing site is reported to be putting the final touches to a new service that will allow users to stream new DVD releases over the web.

Sony, Warner Bros and Universal have reportedly signed licensing rights to Youtube, while Paramount, Fox and Disney are believed to have passed on the offer.

YouTube has more than 130 million monthly users and the site will prove a major competitor to iTunes, which has offered new releases from all the major studios since 2008, and Foxtel‘s on-demand services.

The new site could launch in the US as early as next week but it’s not known when it will be available to Australian customers.

Streaming movie sites in the US, including Netflix and iTunes, put a major dint in the DVD rental industry and the same is expected in Australia.

Blockbuster in the US went bankrupt late last year and had to shut 1000 stores while in Australia several stores have either closed or downsized.

Alana Berney, 18, of Red Hill in Brisbane, said streaming movies online was more convenient and less expensive.

“Streaming online only costs between $2 and $3 and you don’t have the hassle of worrying about returning the DVD”,” she said.

Cheyne Honeyman, 25, said DVD stores were a dying fad while Samantha Colledge, 18, of Indooroopilly, said she would struggle to shake the habit of going to a local DVD store.

“I don’t really know how to download a movie online and love the sweet deals DVD’s stores offer,” she said. “It’s just what I have always done. I have to admit that I do get annoyed with the overdue fines that I always seem to rack up.”

Youtube began streaming a limited film selection last year for as little as $2 but its only major partner was independent studio Lionsgate.

It is believed Youtube is waiting to sign all the majors before officially announcing the new service.

Be the first to comment

There are over 600 millions of active Facebook users in the world, so it’s no wonder that they are often targets of a great variety of scams.

The latest one is delivered directly into their inboxes, and claims that their Facebook account has been spotted sending out spam and that their password has been changed to prevent that:

Supposedly, the new password is contained in the attached .zip file, but that’s just a ruse to make them open and run it, so that they end up with the computer infected by a variant of Bredolab.

Graham Cluley says that the approach would probably be more successful if the attackers would pay attention to details and use a grammar check – these spammers’ have made a rather obvious mistake by misspelling Facebook as “FaceBook“.

But, statistically, it really doesn’t matter if they do. There is a great number of users that misses even such obvious clues and doesn’t know that the email address in the “From” field can be easily be forged.

Be the first to comment

In a surprising move, Apple’s broken their silence on the iPhone location tracking controversy with a Q&A press release. Most notable: they admit the massive data cache goes too far, and will be fixed in an impending software update.

The release itself is full of more hedges than a Versailles topiary garden—insisting that “The iPhone is not logging your location,” but that instead “it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.”

While the latter part may be true, there’s no denying that my phone contains a chronological record of location—I’ve seen it with my own eyes. So while this is an admission of some wrongdoing—”We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data”—Apple still refuses to call a spade a spade.

They’re logging your location, and have been since this summer. Their defense is akin to saying “I haven’t been staring in your window at you while you’re asleep, I’ve been looking inside and admiring all of your decor!”

But the bottom line here is that Apple’s admitting they screwed up, and despite their doublespeak denial of location logging, are going to be fixing the location logging:

Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:

Reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone, ceases backing up this cache, and deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.

In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone.

So Apple knows the logging was wrong, and now that it’s been exposed, are shutting it down. This isn’t over until the software update’s on my phone, but the (overdue) response is better than none at all.

Be the first to comment
%d bloggers like this: