Late last month, a hacker group broke in and stole around 100 terabytes of information from Sony Pictures, including films and financial info. Now, bits and pieces of that stolen data are becoming available on the Internet. But, Sony isn't just going to sit back and watch its stolen information hit the Web. In the fact, the company is allegedly taking a page out of hackers' books to prevent people from downloading its stolen information.
The company is using hundreds of computers in Asia to execute what’s known as a denial of service attack on sites where its pilfered data is available, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
A denial of service attack is basically a cyberattack that uses massive amounts of computer generated traffic to clog up and crash Web services. Last time Sony was hacked, it took a different approach. Gawker got its hands on leaked emails that show that Sony was hacked back in February but stayed quiet about the situation.
Sony obviously doesn't want any more of its data exposed. We've already seen internal emails leaked that have several execs in hot water after they've made insulting comments about celebrities and even the President.
According to sources close to the situation, Sony is using Amazon Web Services to pull off its denial of service attack. That's a cloud computing system run by Amazon. However, Amazon has denied any involvement.
“The activity being reported is not currently happening on AWS (Amazon Web Service),” Amazon said in an emailed statement to Re/code on Thursday. Amazon declined to comment further on whether the activity happened prior to Thursday.
Despite that claim, the sources say the attacks are happening. The company's efforts have reportedly slowed down downloads of stolen files to a snail's pace.
With the fifth such illicit data dump, made available earlier this week, individuals who attempted to access the torrent file encountered bogus “seeds” — or computers — that sapped the resources of their software, the sources said.
While it's now taking steps to combat the attack, some have questioned whether Sony could have done more to prevent it. Not likely. According to ARS Technica, FBI cyberdivision assistant director Joseph Demares told Congress that the malware used to attack Sony could have "worked against nine out of 10 security defenses available to companies."