Sony PlayStation Network Under Renewed Attack

Suspends 93,000 user accounts across the US and Europe

2 min read
Sony PlayStation Network Under Renewed Attack

News reports such as one at the Wall Street Journal are coming in about Sony having to suspend some 93,000 user accounts due to a "large amount" of unauthorized sign-in attempts to its PlayStation®Network (PSN), Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) and Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) services between the 7th and 10th of October.

The Sony press release says that:

"There were approximately 93,000 accounts (PSN/SEN: approximately 60,000 accounts; SOE: approximately 33,000) where the attempts succeeded in verifying those accounts’ valid sign-in IDs and passwords, and we have temporarily locked these accounts. As a preventative measure, we will be sending email notifications to these account holders and will be requiring secure password resets or informing consumers of password reset procedures."

It goes on to say:

"Credit card numbers associated with these accounts are not at risk as a result of these unauthorized attempts. Only a small fraction of these 93,000 accounts showed additional activity prior to being locked...  These attempts appear to include a large amount of data obtained from one or more compromised lists from other companies, sites or sources. These were unauthorized attempts to verify valid user accounts on our services using very large sets of sign-in IDs and passwords. "

The WSJ report says that nearly all of the 93,000 accounts affected were located in the US and Europe, with only 600 accounts located in Japan. It also states that the attacks were not against Sony's servers and databases like earlier this year.

In July, Tim Schaaff, the president of Sony Network Entertainment said in an interview that the hack attack on Sony in April that took its Playstation Network offline for a month and cost the company at least $171 million was a "great experience." I trust that this latest hacking attempt only adds to the greatness of the experience.

Of course, the experience was so wonderful that last month Sony quietly changed its PlayStation Network terms of service agreement to keep users from joining future class action lawsuits against the company. Some 55 class action lawsuits were filed against Sony in the aftermath of the hack attacks earlier this year.

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Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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