Bill Roth, Ulitzer Editor-at-Large

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Lesson Learned from Sony PSN Attack: Secure Your Log Data

A recent article at CNET entitled "Game makers get few new details on PSN outage" said hackers "were able to delete the log files that would have shown exactly what they did while having access to PSN servers," when they attacked Sony's Play Station Network, an attack that exposed personal information of about 77 million users.

Presumably Sony tries its best to secure customers' personal information, and presumably collecting logs is part of that effort.  It's ironic, then, that the company logged user access to its Play Station Network but neglected to secure its log files.  How many other organizations have made the same mistake?  Maybe the idea of having to secure security information is such a tautology that it just doesn't occur to people. 

The implications of stolen log files are serious, however, affecting not only the customers whose information has been deleted or exposed but also the company that was attacked.  Loss of the public's trust and loss of reputation can have serious business repercussions.  And without log files, there's no way to find the hackers and bring them to justice.

Luckily, you can - and should - protect your log files.  The Sony PSN debacle is exactly the type of situation that LogLogic helps prevent, with our comprehensive suite of IT Data Management solutions.  Log information should not simply stay in the logger; it needs to be managed.  It needs to be captured and moved to a central store where it can be secured and available for forensic examination, which could uncover the perpetrator of an attack.

For a reminder of the advantages of log management and using logs in forensics, take a look at the third part of Gorka Sadowski's recent four-part blog series, "Preventive Security through behavior modification". He notes that "today all electronic equipment is capable of generating logs" and that "it is important to collect and manage all of the logs to get a complete and accurate picture of what happened.  You never know which log you will need in the future, so when in doubt, collect it and properly manage it."

If your company is one of those that doesn't give a second thought to log file security, consider the Sony PSN attack a wake-up call. It's time to take action - before any problems occur.

Categories: LogEd

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Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.