Hackers used the cheap but powerful computational resources offered by Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing service to launch their attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network servers.
People familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg that a hacker used the EC2 service to hack into the servers, resulting in what is being termed as the largest data breach in a long time.
Sony was forced to shut down its entire PSN platform on April 20 after its servers were compromised by an external attack. The hacker had stolen valuable user information including names, passwords, email accounts and credit card data. Over 100 million customers were ultimately affected.
Sources told Bloomberg that the hacker had set up a bogus account for implementing the attack. The account has since been disabled by Amazon Web Services.
The EC2 cloud computing platform allows people to rent computational power for as low as three pennies an hour. Amazon's system wasn't compromised,. there is no sign that hackers even tried to interfere with Amazon's security, but the platform played the same role as hijacked networks and botnets in past attacks.
The FBI, which is investigating the security breach, is expected to subpoena Amazon details of the account in question. Amazon has yet to comment on the story.