Sony Pictures Website And US X-Factor Hacked

This isn’t a case of kicking a guy when he’s down, more like nailing him to the floor and then going off to break into his house, as well as his neighbour’s.

In case you aren’t already aware, Sony were hacked again, except this time it was their Sony Pictures website that suffered. The hackers claiming responsibility call themselves LulzSecurity (LulzSec), and they managed to get hold of the personal information of one million users.

The exposed data includes e-mail addresses, passwords, home addresses, birth dates and Sony opt-in data related to users’ accounts. They also have the admin details of Sony Pictures. According to LulzSecurity, who called the hack attack on Sony, Sownage, they claim to have accessed the information “easily,” and that the data was not encrypted. They stated that, “Sony stored over 1,000,000 passwords of its customers in plaintext, which means it’s just a matter of taking it. This is disgraceful and insecure: they were asking for it.LulzSecurity then put the information up on Mediafire and as a torrent on thepiratebay. They also put the information up on their own website.

On May 31st LulzSecurity tweeted on their Twitter account, “Hey @Sony, you know we’re making off with a bunch of your internal stuff right now and you haven’t even noticed? Slow and steady, guys.” Days later they tweeted, “Hey innocent people whose data we leaked: blame Sony.

Sony Pictures released a statement saying, “We have confirmed that a breach has occurred and have taken action to protect against further intrusion. A respected team of outside experts is conducting a forensic analysis of the attack. In addition, we have contacted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and are working with them to assist in the identification and apprehension of those responsible for this crime.”

This comes as a seriously embarrassing blow for Sony, after their Playstation Network was hacked in April, affecting 77 million Playstation users across the world.

For LulzSecurity, the attack on Sony appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Back in early May they hacked into Fox.com and posted a list of e-mail addresses and passwords of Fox employees, as well as posting the names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of The X-Factor USA contestants. Last month they also hacked into the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), where they posted a news item that Tupac Shakur was still alive!

Their reason for doing this? “Our goal is not to help companies protect their data,” say LulzSecurity. “Our goal is to spread fun, fun, fun.” However, an interview on Forbes after the PBS attack suggests that they’re also motivated by a desire to defend WikiLeaks.

Strangely, the background on their website and Twitter page is an altered Nyan Cat picture. This image even managed to make it on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Also their Twitter account shows that they are following only one person – nyannyancat (Nyan Cat).

It seems that even if you have a clever set of passwords, and only use reputable and secure websites, it no longer matters. There are only so many safety precautions you can take when it comes to online banking, shopping, gaming, gambling or dating. As we’ve recently seen, it is through no fault of our own that private details are suddenly available for all to see. It is the companies themselves that need to do a better job of protecting users’ personal information. Given what has happened it could be argued that no one is safe. Is it only a matter of time before all of our private details are a mere click and download away?

What are your thoughts on this recent hack? Tell us your comments below!

Sources: LulzSec Twitter Page | LulzSecurity | Forbes | Sony Pictures Press Release

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