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May 2011

The corporate blame-game

Posted in Business tactics | 1 Comment »

At the end of this month, I was planning to get a PS3. I am, despite the news, still getting a PS3. However, what I’m not doing (for now, at least), is putting any of my bank details onto the thing, for fear it’ll be leaked again. But I’m not sure what worries me worse about the whole issue – the collapse of games journalism into an endless cycle of articles about the PSN relaunch date (to save time when writing them, just put “when?!” and hit “publish”), the lack of response from senior Sony executives, or – and this is my personal favourite – the blaming of Anonymous.

If you’re a company with seventy million accounts, and you’re not securing their details, you’re quite simply insane. Crimininally so. Here’s the kicker, if you have seven accounts and you’re letting security slide – you are still insane. There will never be a solid reason for not protecting your customers’ bank details. Unless you’ve been hacked by the one group being blamed for every major hacking job in the last six months, right?

Meet Anonymous. WikiLeaks? They were there. Palin? They were there. Sony? They weren’t there, but apparently the hacker left a similar calling card on Sony’s servers (though there’s no real proof, just their word) and the blame game began. The problem with this is that Anonymous have never stolen anyone’s details – they down sites via a DDoS attack, and have never expressed any desire to commit an act of theft, especially not on a scale that could equate to an extremely long time behind bars.

This was news that rivalled, at the time, the upcoming Royal Wedding and the events in Syria, and it was not handled well. That the story is still going on, even after Bin Laden’s death, gives an idea of the scale of the PR disaster. It should act as a warning to smaller businesses who wish to grow. No matter how much you expand, how impervious you may perceive yourself to be on the basis of profit and loss sheets, share prices and sales figures, you’re not. If you lose people’s credit card details, they will have to cancel their card, and no one wants that. You then become┬áThe Unreliable Company, and it’ll take Sony years to drop that reputation.

It’s an interesting example of business strategy at its worst, though the fact they’ve taken the network down until May 31st (at which point it will be restored in full) is cause for rage amongst fans, which baffles me slightly. Shouldn’t you be pleased they’ve spent a month upgrading security and sorting everything out, rather than shoving it back online immediately? It’ll never cease to astonish me how, when people’s private details are now being toyed with by people across the globe (for all we know), they will still bemoan the loss of an online gaming service.

If you’re curious as to how it’s going, follow it via Twitter, though don’t bother with Sony staff, they’re all very quiet, funnily enough – like I said to a friend earlier, probably on holiday. Not much to do bar wait for the security to emerge all shiny and upgraded. I’ve already had my card details stolen once, and that wasn’t a small hack – that was part of a huge iTunes operation. But had iTunes blamed Anonymous, Steve Jobs would’ve looked a right mug, and frankly, that’s what Kaz Hirai looks like at the moment. Until the end of the month, Sony. Then we can be friends.

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