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Homeland Security Department Helping Investigate PSN Data Breach
Homeland Security Department Helping Investigate PSN Data Breach
April 29, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reportedly assisting in the investigation into the intrusion that may have exposed millions of PSN users' personal data to unauthorized intruders.

"The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the recent cyber intrusion to Sony's PlayStation Network and Qriocity music service," DHS spokesman Chris Ortman told government technology site NextGov. "DHS' U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team [CERT] is working with law enforcement, international partners and Sony to assess the situation."

Computer hacking has been an increasing focus for the anti-terrorism department in recent years, but the cabinet-level division is usually focused on foreign and domestic attacks on computer infrastructure critical to government functions or public services.

DHS occasionally assists in investigating hacks on important non-government entities, however, as it did in the case of a suspected 2010 attack on the NASDAQ stock exchange's systems.

CERT can help compromised companies restore service and implement new protocols to improve future security in these cases. The group also helps share knowledge of known vulnerabilities with other public and private sector organizations, to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.

There is some concern among security experts that personal data gleaned from the PSN breach could help hackers with identity theft or cracking schemes focused on corporate or financial services.

Sony announced Tuesday that PSN user data may have been compromised after first shutting down the service last week. The company said Wednesday that encrypted credit card data was likely safe, though it could "not rule out the possibility" such data had been taken.

Australia's ABC News reports the country's Privacy Commissioner is investigating Sony's security protections in the attack's wake, following on a similar investigation by the UK's Information Commissioner.

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Cordero W
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I was wondering when the government would step in.

Sebastian Cardoso
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Homeland security? Goodness. Brilliant use of tax payer's money right there ^_^

R Hawley
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A government would consider something like this as an attack on consumerism and come down on it like a ton of bricks. People with power and influence have Playstations too. Someone somewhere is going to get a really sore bottom.

Timothy Barton
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Perhaps I am sadly mistaken, but isn't Sony Computer Entertainment based in Japan? I am not trying to sound nationalistic or anything, but isn't it ironic that our Homeland Security (paid for by taxpayers) is working on this for a private company based in Japan? I understand that many of the consumer credit information is for US purchasers, but so what? In what sense is this a threat to our homeland security? You trusted your credit card to a foreign private company. This sets a terrible precedent in my opinion. When GeoHotz joked that they should have hired security experts, I don't beleive he meant hiring the US Government on taxpayer dollars. Perhaps this is a desperate ploy to piss off taxpayers to go after the hackers? As a US citizen, this just pisses me off at Sony even more...

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Adam Bishop
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A crime was committed. A very large and serious one. I thought crime fighting was one thing that virtually every point on the political spectrum agreed was an important government function?

Reid Kimball
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Question is, which crime fighting unit is best the handle the job? Hacking a video game network doesn't sound like national security is being threatened.

Joe Cooper
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"A crime was committed ... every point on the political spectrum agreed was an important government function?"


James Burns
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I imagine the reason TDHS is looking into this is because of the consequences. If Sony really DID protect their users' data well, and it was still hacked into, it might be worth figuring out how it was done before the people who attacked Sony attack something bigger.

Of course, if Sony DIDN'T protect it well, there would be plenty enough proof for them to be sued...for billions of dollars...

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Zey haf vays of making me talk.

In l33t while Imma hackin away (father is in TSA btw xD).

Hm...Idt this is gonna work out. Again, you can't stop hacking. Unless you remove keyboards or something.

Todd Boyd
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A keyboard is only one human interface device, mind you. ;)

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That's true haha

Camilo R
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In all likelihood this was done from a country where USA does not have any jurisdiction. Most of these hacks are done by well-trained groups in countries where their degree doesn't make them a lot of money.

Aaron Casillas
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Guantanamo Bay has vacancies...yikes!

Christopher Williams
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Good I hope whoever is responsible for this gets nailed.

Joao Beraldo
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You guys are overreacting. Maybe the hackers have stolen Obama's credit card number :P

Eric Geer
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or Osama's

Doug Poston
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After last night's raid, I think the banks have stopped payments for anybody using Osama's credit card. ;)

Mark Morrison
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So does this mean our PS3s have to submit themselves to naked picture Xrays now?

JB Vorderkunz
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R Hawley has it right - this attack models the potential for a much more significant attack on the larger US financial system...there are probably other branches involved but classification prohibits public acknowledgement of this - the NSA is almost undoubtedly involved, probably Treasury too...

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Trying to get some people to understand the seriousness of the attack is at best futile. You got to understand that some people operate under a 5th grade mentality when trying to comprehend such things.

See some people here think this is an "Anon" attack and its just going to go away and not much seriousness is in it. That is until millions of calls go out to financial institutions round the world to post claims of credit fraud do to PSN hack, or there favorite hardware company is sued into oblivion for lack of consumer protection. People of a certain mentality don't understand the benefit of a good reputation until it's theirs that's on the line.

I said my piece about this a while back. Now I'm just going to play a passive role on the matter while it plays out. I'm not going to was anymore typing skills trying to get others to understand why this is a big deal. Every person is entitled to their humble (all be it sometimes completely unintelligent) opinions.

Duong Nguyen
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Sony isn't known for being a lax in terms of security. This was obviously a well orchestrated attack and you can't rule out internal sabotage (ie releasing secret keys or opening unsecured ports). Any attack on large and secure networks like this is extremely valuable case study for future attacks. How else do you prevent them without studying the nature of the beast. They will learn all they can and what weakness of the current infrastructure are.. My guess the hackers will be found within a few weeks. They are too public and also offering a substantial bounty usually yields dividends as well..