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Sony's latest plan to prevent hacking, theft, and fraud

Sony's latest plan to prevent hacking, theft, and fraud

March 13, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

March 13, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Sony learned a hard lesson last year when hackers broke into the PlayStation Network -- the event compromised user data and brought the service offline for nearly a month. Now, Sony has several new strategies in place to prevent this type of breach from happening again.

Speaking to the security-focused SC Magazine, Sony's head of security for SEN Brett Wahlin explained that the company hopes to leverage some sociological principles to detect, prevent, and eliminate threats to its recently rebranded Sony Entertainment Network.

"The types of attacks we see are by groups with social agendas. The methods they use arenít the same as the state-sponsored guys," he said. "At Sony, we are modifying our programs to deal less with state-sponsored [attacks] and more with socially-motivated hackers."

To do so, Sony will also be keeping a closer eye on its staff members around the world. Sony's employees are spread across numerous countries and divisions, and each has varying levels of access to the company's key systems. Sony's security team needs to watch over all of them to make sure they don't become the target of a future breach.

Sony says it will monitor staff behavior using a combination of "social engineering psychology with data analytics," which will help the company's security team look for security gaps and suspicious activity system-wide.

"We are looking to see if there are there key elements within a personís interaction with their environment. That could be interaction with badging systems, with telephones -- when and who do they call -- and with systems like browser habits and applications used," he aid."All these things allow us to set up a pattern for users, so when something different happens we can respond."

"If we detect unusual activity, it may be that someone's been owned by a Trojan that we donít know about, and we can stop data flying out the door," he added.

Wahlin said that Sony is also looking into new strategies for preventing user fraud. He hopes to find new strategies to monitor customer-buying habits and prevent illegitimate purchases via SEN.

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