Technology

Sony Hacked- Escalation of Cyber War?

December 8, 2014 | By Editor 

Summary

Sony cannot breathe relief, regardless of how hard the firm tries. Just three years back, in 2011, the company’s PlayStation Network was massively hacked. Recently, Sony Pictures business has also fallen victim to cyber criminals. Hackers not only accessed a host of internal information, but also provided DVD-quality copies of some Sony’s upcoming movies to the public.

About 40 GB of sensitive company data from systems belonging to Sony Pictures were stolen and posted on the Internet. Some of the information leaked included the earnings of Sony’s top brass and the firm’s expenditure on various divisions. According to some sources, the attack was instigated by a group called Guardians of Peace (GOP) but their identities remain unclear.

The breach is unprecedented in many aspects and speaks volumes of the ability of today’s cyber criminals to infiltrate a firm and wreak havoc. But also indicates the ever-escalating cyber threats to corporate data resources and global economy. The latest attack has raised the question of whether any company network can be kept protected from steadfast attackers.

Hackers are increasingly turning to government and corporate servers to steal intellectual property and personal data that they can sell to governments seeking diplomatic, military, or economic advantages. In other words, cyber-war is expanding and the digital battlefield looks even more frightening than before.

Sony Cyberwar

Why is the Hack a Serious Escalation of Cyberwar

Even a Vigilant Firm as Sony Can be Compromised

  • It is fair to remember that Sony bolstered its network security, following massive network intrusion few years back.
  • In 2011, the Japanese conglomerate’s PlayStation Network service was breached and resulted in the theft of customer information forcing the firm to clamp it down for many weeks.
  • At that time, Sony said that it has improved its IT security. But if the latest breach is any indication, it clearly does not establish the same level of vigilance across all its sectors.

The Cost Could be Huge

  • The cost incurred by Sony Pictures could pose a huge concern for the corporate, as it heads into the next few months.
  • The problem is that majority of the films leaked online by hackers are yet to premier in theaters and they are actively being downloaded from various websites.
  • According to a report published in 2011, such leaks can cost firms massively, around 19 percent of the revenue, they would have otherwise amass via box office sales.

Hackers Keep Multiplying at an Alarming Rate

  • The sheer number of hackers and hacking rings that have hit the Internet to hit corporates is astounding.
  • Groups such as Anonymous (carried out cyberattacks on U.S. government agencies, Israeli sites) and LulzSec (responsible for taking CIA site offline) were prominent for a while.
  • GOP (Guardians of Peace), believed to be responsible for Sony breach, is the latest to joining cyber-terrorist bandwagon.
    As hacking rings evolve and new one emerge, it is difficult than ever for companies to defend themselves from the latest cyberthreats.

State-Sponsored Hacking is on the Rise

  • Given the circumstances today, state-sponsored cyber attacks are very real.
  • For years, the United States and China were accused of being actively engaged in cyber-warfare.
  • China has even been charged with targeting firms to steal intellectual property and secrets.
  • United States, the grandmaster of all, was convicted for spying on top political leaders, corporate giants, and its citizens via NSA, courtesy Edward Snowden.
  • North Korea has joined the fray more recently but has already set up an intel unit, called Unit 121, to aim at foreign networks.

Has the Security Community Become Lethargic ?

Even the Internet Giant Google have recently said about the important of switching to HTTPS, these types of hacking still exist.

  • Either the security community is lethargic or it is not able to keep pace with hackers. Both assumptions are dangerous in different ways.
  • While many security firms have managed to track the methods used by hackers, new channels of attacks always seem to appear.
  • Even spending millions of dollars on cyber security just is not adequate to permanently put an end to hacking. The security community is indeed behind hackers, which is neither acceptable nor comforting.

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