I wonder what the Japanese is for “when you are in a hole it’s usually a good time to stop digging?"
I read the new Sony press release with some bemusement; the one with regard to the loss of 25 million further customer details from Sony Online Entertainment. The release had the following statement:
Information from an outdated database from 2007 containing approximately 12,700 non-US customer credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes) and about 10,700 direct debit records listing bank account numbers of
certain customers in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Spain may have also been obtained.
It makes one wonder if Sony is aware of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) since they are very effectively stating their non-compliance? The PCI DSS control 3.1 states that cardholder data must be kept to a minimum and that a data
retention and deletion policy must be implemented, which involves a process for the secure deletion of cardholder data when it is no longer required. I would suggest outdated credit card databases fall fairly under this category.
Not only that but the PCI DSS Prioritised Approach categorises the 220 plus controls into six Risk levels and control 3.1 is one of only eight controls considered severe enough to be put in at Risk level 1. In these litigious days one can only assume that
the Sony lawyers and Marcom staff who proof read this statement had been missing during the Security Awareness Training.
On another tack with regard to this breach, Sony have said that in the original attack, they couldn’t be sure if the credit card database (the large one) had been stolen but in any case the entire database was encrypted.
This statement has been endlessly repeated – yet no-one has asked Sony the obvious question: “did they take the decryption keys as well?” Because let’s face it, if they got the keys as well, then the encryption is as useful to Sony and its customers as the
proverbial chocolate teapot.
Where were the decryption keys? Well this is a rhetorical question because I don’t know – and let’s hope that neither did the hackers.
However if you are smart enough to grab millions of card details from a large organisation’s database and then find it is encrypted, you might just be tempted to wander back in to see if you can find a decryption key. Even worse, imagine if the key was stored
in the database itself, or put in clear text into a configuration file, or left under the doormat (in a humorous virtual way ) – surely no one would do that. But then again, surely no-one would leave 100 million personal details lying around would they?