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Trail of Sony Hack Leads to Amazon: Bloomberg

Culprits Allegedly Used Amazon EC2 Cloud to Break In

Whoever hacked Sony and compromised the data in 100 million user accounts, reportedly the second-biggest US data theft ever, used Amazon's EC2 cloud to do it.

Bloomberg says the culprit or culprits simply rented a server using a fake name. It was quoting an unnamed source, who told the wire service the account has been shut down.

As Bloomberg explained all it takes to rent servers from EC2 is a name, an e-mail address, a password, a phone number, a billing address and a verified credit card. Presumably it was a stolen credit card.

The FBI, which joined the hunt for the perpetrator after Sony discovered the breach last month, is now expected to subpoena Amazon or get a search warrant to trace transactions, access to the specific Internet address and the payment data.

This kind of news is likely to make enterprise accounts twitchy about using public clouds, according to Abiquo CEO Peter Malcolm. Abiquo sells private clouds.

Meanwhile, Sony started putting its PlayStation Networks back up again over the weekend but only in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Not in Asia.

The Dow Jones says Japanese officials haven't sanctioned a return to the domestic market yet. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Sony's promised security measures haven't all materialized and it wants more information on what Sony's gonna do to regain consumers' trust with their credit cards.

Reuters reported a US security expert saying Sony had still security holes too.

If it's any consolation Sony hasn't put its storefront back up yet.

Sony took PlayStation and Qriocity down April 20 to assess the damage, improve the security and create an early warning system sensitive to unusual activity. On May 2 Sony Online was determined to have been hacked too and that went offline.

Customers have to change their passwords with the upgrade. CNET repeated reports that the resuscitated PlayStation Network didn't stay up long and was turned off for a while because of a "heavy load of password resets."

Sony would like to be fully functional by May 31.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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