Hackers used Amazon's Elastic Cloud Computing service to wage an attack on Sony's PlayStation network last month, according to a report by Bloomberg News. If it's true, it's the first acknowledgement that a cloud service — billed as a cheap, dynamic solution for safely storing data and ramping up processing power — has been used as a platform for a cyber attack.
Bloomberg cites "a person with knowledge of the matter," who said a hacker used a fake name to set up a bogus Amazon EC2 account. Amazon's servers were not hacked; rather, someone purchased computing power and used it to attack Sony's network, compromising the personal information of 100 million users.
Amazon's Web Services division allows users to buy processing power and space so they don't need their own physical servers. EC2 prices range from 3 cents to $2.48 an hour for users on the East Coast, depending on your data needs; details can be found on Amazon's website.
Extra computing power could also enable hackers to crack passwords and obtain other information more efficiently, as Bloomberg's report explains.
Several computer security experts quoted in the story explain that there's not much, if anything, Amazon can do about it: "There is no way of telling who's a good guy and who's a bad guy," said Pete Malcolm, chief executive officer of Abiquo Inc., a California-based cloud services firm.
The PlayStation network went back online in the U.S. over the weekend, nearly a month after the intrusion, which Sony labeled a deliberate and sophisticated attack. It's still not back online in Japan.
Hackers have been known to use hijacked or rented servers, as Bloomberg's report points out, but this appears to be a first — hackers buying legitimate time on a cloud platform, just like any other customer, but for nefarious purposes.
Sounds like the White House's new International Strategy for Cyberspace, announced this weekend, has something else to consider.
Gamers and Hackers, while not the same have IMO been like minded people. While I am not a hacker, I am a gamer, and for the most part have always supported hacking as long as it does not interfere with other people. Just look at the Mackintosh articles on this site. Totally harmless. I have friends that learn hacking to be better programmers. now they work for Google. Hacking is about breaking something to find out how it works. Stealing isn't hacking. stealing is stealing. With this latest attack (and Square enix was just hacked a few days ago, 23,000 user info was stolen this time) Hackers have created a HUGE divide between their BIGGEST supporters: Gamers.
Look at the hacked Microsoft Kinect. Its GREAT what people have done. They didnt hack the Kinect to steal anything. They didnt hack it to CHEAT at gaming.
Hackers have now lost face with 100,000 million gamers.
if this was Ananyomous. They F%%% up big time and this has had the exact opposite effect. What is the point of crippiling Sony. With out sony, no playstation. with no playstaion there is no PlayStation to hack on your own for whatever reason?
I was receiving errors in one of my web applications the other day and noticed it was actually an amazon cloud server scraping my site. It was generating hundreds of errors. Then I realized it was actually trying to do SQL injection and XSS type attacks. There will be lots of attacks like this in the future.
while i am also not a hacker i know the difference between one and a cracker.
a hacker is a mindset, you can find hackers in manufacturing, gaming, programming and hardware. if you see an inventor taking a soldering iron to a stereo to find out what makes it tick then he is a "hacker". in fact the term hacker was to denote someone who messes with electrical components, building a sketchy job or "hacking" it all together. only recently starting in the mid 90's had the term started to shift to people who were programmers. but the idea stayed the same, to dismantle a system and see what makes it tick. gamers are only associated because most people over fifty which includes half the people on the news channels, can't tell the difference between an xbox and a pc computer. in reality they are more closely associated with the open computing movement, such as programs like open office, Wikipedia, and to some extent our benevolent overlords, Google.
a cracker is simply a thief who uses the same channels as a hacker to get what he wants. usually chaos, theft of identity and general real life anti-socialistic trolling with a little denial of service to mix things up. they can also be employed, sometimes the only things needed to make a statement is a warning sign on the news' website that says a company has been "hacked". especially if they're being hypocritical about their security. (drm on every cd, hacked server in 24 hours costing less than 100 bucks)
knowing the difference can save you a lot of time and heart ache. and also it's correct, so if your going to blast someone about using a server to break into a server don't call them a hacker if they steal something. they are a cracker.
enjoy this psa, brought to you by your lord and masters here at goo- (message terminated)
Host and Inaka, You have a very well thought-out comments and well done on the explainations. Just recently hackers are becoming more frequent and the attacks are now too open. I used to cheer them but not anymore since last 2 years. I agree that hackers were originally was around to innovate software engineering but now, it is just plain sad. As a gamer also even not playing Playstation or Xbox, I personally take this as an attack on me. I don't know how to hack but they have a become my enemy no. 1 thus I have the motivation to hunt these people.
thank you for explaining that I really did not want to. I wish the retard news would get it right. These attacks are not done by hackers they are being done by crackers. Stop giving hackers a bad name.
did you read CRACKERS if you are gonna hunt someone down you might wanna hunt the right people.
A also someone that used to cause havoc on douche bags when AOL first got popular by feeding peoples connection and preventing them from even getting online. Oh good old days. I personally saw AOL as a threat to what the internet should be so I did my part in the war against them.
im glad that its finally back on. those "hackers" maybe had their reasons for doing it but it still was a terrible thing to do. if our government was so advanced than why did a group of kids hack the servers and got away so easily?
What? First we had to deal with 400 years of oppression from these crackers and now they are jackin up my playstation?
@JediMind, I fairly sure that the offenders reason was money, if that's a good one. I'm also pretty sure that it wasn't just a "group of kids", the attack took preparation and an attention span. Also I think they didn't have anything to do with the network shut down, that was all Sony's doing in their moment of realizing the got owned. BTW I don't use a PlayStation, but I think the proposed customer compensation for this fiasco sucks.
TL;DR Sony failed miserably
yeah they did fail but they are not telling us all the details about the attack only that they got served. lol @ the customer compensation. hey at least its better than nothing. and honestly i didn't expect them to give us free psn users anything. and you are right it wasn't kids but it could have been. it also could have been another world government testing their hacking abilities.