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Sony Pictures deploys hacker techniques

December 11, 2014

Sony Pictures is employing hacking techniques in an attempt to prevent computer users from downloading its stolen data from file-sharing websites, according to reports.

Confidential data was stolen in an attack last week including five Sony Pictures films, all the users names and passwords for Sony Pictures Twitter and Facebook accounts and pay details for top executives and movie stars.

Technology site Recode claims the movie studio is now using Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing platform that underpins Netflix, Amazon’s store and other streaming and retail brands. The AWS platform provides access to hundreds of computers located in Asia, which Sony is allegedly using to bombard sites where its stolen data is being made available.

The method is called a distributed denial of service (ddos) attack, which attempts to overload the websites of the target and prevent internet users from accessing it.

DDoS is a technique commonly used by hackers to sabotage company services, but has also been used by movie studios attempting to prevent people downloading pirated versions of films from file sharing sites.

“The AWS acceptable usage policy explicitly prohibits initiating denial of service attacks from their service; it’s unlikely that Amazon would let this activity continue,” said Tim Erlin, director of security and risk at Tripwire to the Guardian. “Taking the step to ‘hack back’ against perceived legitimate targets, based on their own assessment of guilt, presents a myriad of potential legal problems.”


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