Sony angers the Anonymous beast

It was nice knowing ya, Sony. Your gaming networks are hackers' playthings, with more than 100 million customers' data stolen -- and worse may be to come

Hang it up, kiss it good-bye, find another line of work. These are all good options for Sony and its executives now that the company has angered the Anonymous beast.

It was bad enough that the PlayStation Network fell down and couldn't get up last month. It was worse that Sony waited five days to tell anyone what had happened, and worse still that hackers had stolen 77 million PSN accounts.

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Then Sony revealed that its PC gaming network, Sony Online Entertainment, was also hacked, releasing another 25 million or so accounts into the wild. It turns out that Sony was using outdated, flawed security software. What a surprise.

But the biggest mistake was yet to come: Sony then wrote a letter to Congress and pointed the finger of blame at Anonymous for the hacks, even though they did not fit the pattern of Anonymous attacks, which have been well documented over the past two years.

Anonymous vehemently denied taking any part in those attacks. But you know it wasn't done. Sure enough, now comes word via IRC channels that someone (and one has to assume it's the Anons) is planning a major takedown of Sony this weekend. Per Cnet's Erica Ogg:

An observer of the Internet Relay Chat channel used by the hackers told CNET today that a third major attack is planned this weekend against Sony's Web site. The people involved plan to publicize all or some of the information they are able to copy from Sony's servers, which could include customer names, credit card numbers, and addresses, according to the source. The hackers claim they currently have access to some of Sony's servers.

Before you disappear entirely, Sony, I want to say thank you for inventing the Walkman and, by extension, the entire portable electronics market. And for co-inventing the compact disc with Phillips and for helping usher in the era of home video with the Betamax VCR, even though you lost that battle to JVC.

Since then, though, there's not all that much to be thankful for. There was that nasty bit of business involving Sony BMG music CDs and rootkits in 2005, from which Sony never really recovered. There were all those exploding laptop batteries, which resulted in the recall of more than 4 million Sony batteries in 2006.

Then there all those Sony products. Quick: Do you know anybody who uses a Sony Ericsson phone and doesn't live in Scandinavia?

The Sony eReader was revolutionary –- until Amazon's Kindle came along and stole Sony's lunch money. The Sony Aibo was going to usher in a new era of personal robotic companions -– until it landed in the robo-pet cemetery. The PlayStation is a technological marvel, but it's been getting its butt kicked by the Wii for some time now. And its online music and book store, Sony Connect? An embarrassment until Sony finally put it out of its misery in 2008.

There was a time when the Sony logo stood for quality and innovation. Akio Morita is probably spinning in his grave at what's happened to the company he created. These hacks, and Sony's response to them, are just more rotten icing on a moldy cake.

If Sony said sayonara, would you miss it? Post your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Sony angers the Anonymous beast," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Track the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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