Monday, May 30, 2011

Sony Playstation Network Hacking: Death Knell for E-Commerce?

After satisfying over 70 million loyal customers over the years, will the recent Sony Playstation Network hacking attacks spell the end for reliable retail-level e-commerce?

By: Ringo Bones

Near the end of April, 2011, Sony’s Global Playstation Entertainment System – that sells not only on-line computer game related upgrades and apps but also Sony-owned media like high-resolution movie and digital music downloads – has been subjected to a malicious hacking attack that had made virtually all of the company’s 77-million loyal customers’ credit card and personal details stolen. On-line security pundits say that this could be the most brazen act of cyber-terrorism of 2011. Sony’s top brass are virtually caught with their pants down during the most audacious cyber-attack that all they can do the weeks after the attacks was warn their clients of possible e-mail phishing scams given their e-mail and other personal details are already stolen by the hackers. Does this high-profile hacking attack the death knell for reliable retail-level e-commerce?

Sadly, the present state – as in year 2011 – internet is still akin to the 19th Century Wild West or large-scale pre Geneva and Hague Convention conflicts conducted during the Victorian Era where there are yet no legal precedents and internationally binding conventions governing cyber-warfare or defining acts of cyber-terrorism. Worse still, as recent as the 2011 Munich On-Line Security Conference, internet security pundits are still complaining on the ambiguity surrounding the internationally accepted legal definition of what constitutes a cyber-attack. It might be just an on-line commercial site that’s being attacked this time, but imagine America and Western Europe’s children’s hospital on-line databases being subjected to a cyber-attack similar to that on the Sony’s Global Playstation Entertainment System Network. Children in dire need of an organ transplant could die because the hospital’s database is compromised by a brazen cyber-attack. And the UN Security Council is already being criticized for not investigating states sponsoring global cyber-terrorism. Are we witnessing the start of a brave new world?

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