A short history of Sony hacks

sony hacks history 1
Target on its back

The giant Japanese electronics company dazzled us with its Walkman and Discman in the late 70s/early 80s, as well as with its TVs, cameras and game consoles over the years. But things took a bad turn in 2005…

(SEE ALSO: Sony BMG Rootkit Scandal: 10 Years Later)

sony hacks history 2
Credit: Wikipedia
Sony BMG rootkit scandal

Sneaking rootkit software into millions of music CDs to prevent PC users from burning copies of the music turned into a PR nightmare for Sony BMG after the scheme was exposed on Halloween, 2005. Things got worse when Sony botched its response, issued and reissued fixes, and got sued by multiple parties.

sony hacks history 3
Credit: Wikipedia
George Hotz PlayStation hack

Hotz burst onto the tech scene in 2007 after becoming the first person known to have unlocked an iPhone from its carrier. He was back in 2009, breaching security on the Sony PlayStation 3.  Sony sued Hotz, and reportedly settled with him out of court, with the agreement that Hotz would not hack any more Sony products.

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Anonymous comes to Hotz’s defense

As Hotz was on the hot seat in 2011 because of the Sony suit, hacktivists Anonymous took matters into their own hands after railing against Sony publicly (“Your corrupt business practices are indicative of a corporate philosophy that would deny consumers the right to use products they have paid for and rightfully own, in the manner of their choosing.”) . Anonymous did indeed take down the PlayStation network for more than 3 weeks, after publicly warning it would do so.

sony hacks history 5
Credit: Wikipedia
LulzSec takes its turn

Sony’s various networks took a beating for years following the Anonymous hack, with website defacements, DDoS attacks and network take-downs. LulzSec in 2011 pulled off one of the more high profile incidents, claiming to have compromised over 1 million accounts via a Sony Pictures hack (though Sony said the number of compromised accounts was in the thousands). Arrests followed…

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Lizard Squad strikes

This hacking group put a damper on the holidays for Xbox Live and PlatStation Network users on Christmas Day of 2014 by taking down those networks via DDoS attack. Arrests followed

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The Interview

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s network was hacked in November 2014 by a group dubbed Guardians of Peace that wanted Sony to cancel distribution of the comedy film The Interview, which featured an assassination plot against North Korea’s leader. The US blamed North Korea for the hack, though that country denied any wrongdoing. All sorts of sensitive email, salary and other data was exposed in the hack.