Besieged Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer has said that he can’t guarantee the security of its videogame network or any other Web system in the “bad new world” of cybercrime.Sony who has resorted to giving away free games and access subscriptions in an attempt to hold onto customers said that their Playstation Network, that was taken down by hackers has only been partially restored after being shut down for several weeks when a breach compromised the personal information of more than 100 million account holders.
Stringer’s comments in a phone interview with The Wall Street Journal, ahead of a New York roundtable discussion with reporters, comes 8 days before Sony is set to announce their delayed financial results.
Stringer, 69 years old, said maintaining the service’s security is a “never-ending process” and he doesn’t know if anyone is “100 percent secure.”
He said the security breach at PSN, Sony Online Entertainment, an online game service for personal-computer users, and its Qriocity streaming video and music network could lead the way to bigger problems well beyond Sony, or the gaming industry. He warned the attacks may one day target the global financial system, the power grid or air traffic control systems.
“It’s the beginning, unfortunately, of the shape of things to come,” said Stringer. “It’s not a brave new world; it’s a bad new world,” he said.
The attack came as Sony was desperately trying to convince consumers to invest in their content networks for both gaming and movies.
The attack has exposed Mr. Stringer’s management to criticism, while also exposing Sony’s poor PR management skills.
Mr. Stringer said it was still too early to assess the financial impact from the outage. Sony announces its full-year results on May 26.
The man tipped to replace Stringer, Kazuo Hirai, who is the head of its videogame and consumer electronics units has been the face of the disaster. Stringer told the WSJ that Hirai’s familiarity with PSN allowed him to restore the service “faster than anyone else would.” Stringer, who said his support for the network strategy hasn’t wavered, saw his role as the one to ask tough questions and put together a team to get results.
“If anything happened in this period that was positive, Kaz demonstrated coolness and leadership and reliability absent of disagreement and dissidence that was very impressive,” he said.
Hirai said Sony has done everything possible to make sure that its online systems are secure. If an attacker is still able to get around those security walls, there are safeguards in place to prevent them from gaining access to Sony’s data.
“We have done everything possible and reasonable to make sure that a system is secure from attack,” said Hirai.
Stringer said the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the matter was still ongoing, but declined to provide an update on the findings.
As it restored some of its systems over the weekend, Sony said it strengthened data security with new technologies while implementing additional software monitoring and vulnerability testing. It also increased levels of encryption and put in additional firewalls.
Stringer said he didn’t think that Sony’s online security was lax. He said PSN had been in business for five years and SOE for 10 years without a major breach at either service.
“We had no reason to believe that our security was not good and still no reason to believe it because we have plenty of people looking at it,” said Mr. Stringer. “We’ve learned that we just have to keep improving our security.”