Sony Ups Security Shield Against Hacktivists Under Former US Military Counter Intelligence Official

March 12, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Big corporations fear hacktivists more than insider traders. Sony is a classic example how a giant can be brought to their knees by a group of hackers who were angry with the changes Sony was going to make to their Play Station 3 console. Sony suffered more than 20 attacks and their Play Station Network was down for almost a month.

But things have changed a lot at Sony, with Brett Wahlin, former counter-intelligence official in the US military during the Cold War and Chief Security Officer at McAfee, now taking over as the CSO at the company.

Wahlin is prepping the company for preventing any attack, by way of coupling social engineering psychology with data analytics and user education.

Wahlin knows the difference between state-sponsored hackers and hacking groups like Anonymous who are driven more by social reasons. Sony, according to Wahlin, should be careful about the second group and their attacks.

Being a specialist in social engineering, his attempts to seal the chinks in the armor are centered on finding abnormalities in the usual pattern of behavior of staff’s systems or phone use.

The company will put the usual apps used by the staff under surveillance  and analysis of the web browsing habits and other abnormalities will help them discover a hiding Trojan or similar threats in company’s systems.

To prevent social engineering attacks on the staff, the system will keep an eye on company’s IP phones  and will create a profile of who they are calling and for how long and similar things to find out anything suspicious.

To prepare Sony towards any upcoming cyber attack, Wahlin is also planning a security education initiative for the staff dubbed Security Transformation. Good planning Wahlin, but the job will not be easy.

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