Dirk Knemeyer

Hacking and online security

Hacking and online security, May 10, 2011

A short comment contextualizing the prediction could go right here

The news keeps getting worse for Sony as last week they revealed still another data breach, this time with their Sony Online Entertainment division. This has gone from a story about cloud computing and online security to, in my mind, a story about the relationship between the establishment and the fringe. It is widely accepted that these attacks are retribution for Sony’s court attacks of hacker George Hotz, who illegally release the kernel for Sony’s Playstation 3 last year. Sony’s demolishing Hotz in court last year did nothing to endear them to the hacker community, and indeed they are now paying a most brutal price for their action. I struggle to identify the right analogy. Is it like chivalry in the Middle Ages where there are clear codes of conduct in the tussle between knights and highwaymen? Is it like pirating or even privateering in the 16th and 17th centuries, where there is a fine line between the will of the state and the power and potential of the individual? Whatever the proper analogy, we’re not dealing with simply a massive cyber attack, we’re dealing with a space between establishment and the subversive. Maybe the best way to look at is like the wild West of the 19th century. When the outlaws thing the law has overstepped its bounds, the time has come to kill the sheriff and burn down the town. Right now, Sony is burning.