In-depth

How can big companies fight hackers?

As Sony finds itself on the receiving end of a hacking campaign, just what problems are big companies facing in this area and what can they do about it? Simon Brew takes a look.

Even factoring in some of the substantive challenges Sony has faced over the years, it's not wide of the mark to suggest the past few weeks have been amongst the most taxing.

The headline-grabber has been the hacking of the PlayStation Network service (which is only just coming back online, after a month away) and the associated potential theft of tens of millions of user details, along with credit card information.

Given much of Sony's strategy going forward involves people trusting them with their personal details, this is a substantive hammer blow and one that's going to take some coming back from.

Yet there has been far more to what Sony's been facing than that as, from the turn of the year, it's been up against something of a guerrilla battle with a team of hackers, going simply under the moniker of Anonymous.

This is a substantive hammer blow and one that's going to take some coming back from

The Anonymous group had taken umbrage with Sony's legal action against George Hotz, the hacker who managed to after a period of several years break the copy protection on the Sony PlayStation 3 console. Until a recent out-of-court settlement was agreed, the plan seemed to be to drag Hotz through the legal system.

This approach had unexpected ramifications for Sony, however, when Anonymous began targeting some of the firm's non-PlayStation related websites. They did so with some success, attacking several Sony sites, although always firmly denying it was anything to do with the PlayStation Network hacking incident.

That hasn't stopped people finger-pointing though, arguing that by the very structure of the Anonymous group, it's entirely feasible some of its members had something to do with it. Perhaps we'll never know for certain, which adds to the trouble Sony faces.

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