While Sony isn’t any closer to publicly announcing who was behind the attacks which lead to the PlayStation Network being taken offline for more than three weeks, the company can reveal just how the deed was done.
A service offered by Amazon, Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2), can be rented for as low as “three pennies an hour” – and it was this service that was used to attack Sony‘s online services, a person with “knowledge of the matter” has said to [surl=http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-15/sony-attack-shows-amazon-s-cloud-service-lures-hackers-at-pennies-an-hour.html]Bloomberg[/surl].
The attack lead to the second-largest online data breach in U.S. history, but the source says there was no illegal intrusion into Amazon’s servers. Instead, the hacker set up a now-disabled account using a false name, and let someone else’s computers do the dirty work.
The EC2 Cloud set-up is used by major companies including Netflix and Twitter, so this new development poses a dilemma for Amazon.
Pete Malcolm, chief executive officer at Abiquo Inc, a Californian company that helps users manage data, explains that:
“Anyone can go get an Amazon account and use it anonymously.
“If they have computers in their back bedroom they are much easier to trace than if they are on Amazon’s Web Services.”
The FBI will “likely” subpoena Amazon, or seek a search warrant to access transaction history to find out more information on the alleged hackers.
…it’s not yet known if this will result in any further action being taken by Amazon to better check up on its potential customers, but Sony is thoroughly revamping its security measures as part of rebooting the services.