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5/17/2011
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PlayStation Server Scan Logfiles Uncover True Scope Of Sony's Sloppy Data Security

Logs indicate that Sony was using outdated, and thus insecure, software versions

HAMBURG, Germany, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- It was the largest data theft ever: on the 19th of April, hackers broke into Sony servers and stole the personal information of more than 100 million customers. Highly sensitive information available to the German magazine COMPUTER BILD now reveals that the servers had massive security issues.

Internet activists of Anonymous, a worldwide secret organization, provided COMPUTER BILD with logs of scans that they had performed on Sony servers already before the data theft. Anonymous had launched distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks on the Sony servers as a "stress test" to bring down the conglomerate's online services. To this end, they scanned the servers for vulnerabilities. Logs of the scans revealed glaring security holes.

The logs indicate that Sony was using outdated, and thus insecure, software versions, the weaknesses of which had been documented on the Internet for years. For example, Sony used the OpenSSH 4.4 service to encrypt data communication - a version that permits unauthorized access by attackers. The current version, in which those holes have been closed, is 5.7. Furthermore, some Sony servers were running the obsolete Apache version 2.2.10. The vulnerabilities in that version - which were eliminated in 2008 - permit DDoS and other attacks. The current version is 2.2.17.

Anonymous claims that it has nothing to do with the theft of personal information of millions of users. But whoever stole the data, they did not have to overcome any major obstacles in light of the glaring security holes.

A number of PlayStation Network servers in Europe have been back online since Sunday. Sony promises significantly higher security standards, hopefully with the latest software this time.

For all the facts and documents, as well as tips on what PlayStation Network users need to do now, please visit http://www.computerbild.de/go/sony-ps3-details.

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