Last week we brought you news that Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) had crashed, taking with it popular services like FourSquare and Reddit. Just a few hours later Sony’s Playstation Network (PSN) was taken offline in response to an “external intrusion”. Many have pointed to these outages as a failure of the cloud computing model that has been so widely embraced in recent years, while others have highlighted the shortcomings of individual companies as the cause.
When EC2 failed, after putting up temporary error pages the companies that rely on the service were quick to point fingers – mostly at Amazon. Popular photo storage and sharing website SmugMug issued a blog post in the following days explaining how they had built out their infrastructure with failure in mind, and so avoided any downtime due to the outage. Essentially they spread their services across several “Availability Zones” (basically, across several server farms), so when the servers in North Carolina went into meltdown they could stay up.
Meanwhile others blamed Amazon for a long service interruption coupled with a lack of communications. For Amazon’s part, their Web Services Dashboard now shows that the affected systems are more-or-less back to normal, however they do admit they have lost around 0.07% of the volumes stored in the North Carolina location, and are contacting the companies affected.
While Amazon is slowly returning to normal, things are going from bad to worse for Sony. While Amazon’s services were never fully down, Sony’s PSN has been flat on its back since it was first knocked out on Thursday. Intermittent posts on the official playstation blog give a fairly bleak insight into the frenetic struggle to get the service back online.
Sony have said they are “re-building [the] system to further strengthen our network infrastructure,” and that this is a “time intensive process.”
Most have interpreted this as meaning the electronics giant has screwed up big-time, and is having to redesign their security from the ground up to ensure it isn’t compromised again. Perpetual thorn in Sony’s side, Anonymous, while denying they perpetrated the attack, did release a statement simply stating “Sony is incompetent.” – we’re betting all those disappointed weekend gamers agree.
UPDATE: Confirming that their timing is as impeccable as their security, Sony have updated the Playstation Blog with an ominous post, detailing all of the data they have lost -
“We believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained.
Your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.”
This officially puts the panic level at “fully clenched”, and you know what that means. If you don’t use a unique password for your PSN login, you’d better get changing right about now, and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity on your credit card!