updated 07:15 am EDT, Sat May 14, 2011
Amazon EC2 cloud-based server used in PSN hacks
Amazon's EC2 cloud-based rental server service is reported to have been utilized as a proxy in the Sony PlayStation Network hacks. According to Bloomberg, a person with knowledge of the matter has revealed that the hackers used an alias to rent an Amazon EC2 server and used it as the staging point for the attack. The person said that Amazon has closed the account used for the hack.
The strategy that the hackers used to rent, or even hijack, a server is one that is often used by sophisticated cyber-criminals. As server farms become commonplace, the ability for hackers to misdirect investigators has become easier. When asked for comment, Sony's Patrick Seybold said, "We're continuing to work with law enforcement in an ongoing investigation into the situation. As such, we will not comment further on this matter."
Security experts believe that the FBI is likely to issue a subpoena to Amazon in order to conduct a forensic examination of the account the hackers used and to conduct a search of the affected Amazon server.