Sony Hires U.S. Department of Homeland Security Official
New Chief Information Officer Hopes to Prevent Future PSN Breaches
Sony is hoping that a former United States government cyber terrorism expert will be able to help it prevent a hack like the one that affected its PlayStation Network (PSN) this past spring. That attack, which resulted in the breaching of over 100 million personal accounts, has cost the Japanese firm hundreds of millions of dollars.
In case you missed it, back in late April Sony was nailed by one of the most paralyzing hacker attacks in recent history. The breach of 100 million-plus accounts meant that the credit card information, addresses, and names of gamers were all exposed (though Sony adamantly proclaimed that credit card data remained encrypted). It took Sony more than a month to fully stabilize the situation and get PSN -- which is the PlayStation 3's online gaming network -- back up and running.
When PSN was re-established, the company offered its fans access to all kinds of free content, including big name games like Infamous, Dead Nation, LittleBigPlanet, and Wipeout HD. Dubbed the 'Welcome Back' package, this offering no doubt helped heal open wounds with many gamers. However, it also cost the Japanese electronics conglomerate a massive amount of cash on top of the huge expenses incurred simply fixing the gaping breach.
Overall, it's estimated that Sony has spent over $175 million fixing the problem, and that’s likely a conservative number.
Given this absolute mess, it's no wonder that the company is desperately trying to prevent anything even approaching April's hack from ever happening again. One of its most public displays of a new plan moving forward has been the hiring of Philip Reitinger, a highly experienced security pro with a very long resume.
Reitinger has ties to both tech giants and government organizations. For a time he served as a cyber security expert at Microsoft, but has made a real name for himself by working for the Department of Defense's Cyber Crime Center and most recently as deputy undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate. In this latter role, Reitinger has been critical in helping establish a model for how the United States government deals with cyber security threats.
With a computer science degree and Yale law degree, Reitinger's education is also impressive. Sony has said he will be based in Washington, an appropriate post given his history and the media buzz surrounding his newest appointment.