On April 19th, hackers broke into Sony servers and stole the personal information of more than 100 million customers which some industry analysts are saying is the largest data theft ever.

German magazine Computer Bild today has published a damning critique of Sony which highlights how Sony servers were running obsolete programs and web services whose vulnerabilities have been known for years.

The conclusions come after reviewing logs of scans which were performed on Sony servers by the amorphous hacker collective Anonymous before the data theft. Anonymous had launched distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks on the Sony servers as a "stress test" to bring down the company's online services. To this end, they scanned the servers for vulnerabilities. The group says logs of the scans revealed glaring security holes.

The logs indicate that Sony was using outdated, and thus insecure, software versions, the weaknesses of which had been documented on the Internet for years. For example, Sony used the OpenSSH 4.4 service to encrypt data communication - a version that permits unauthorized access by attackers.

The current version, in which those holes have been closed, is 5.7. Furthermore, some Sony servers were running the obsolete Apache version 2.2.10. The vulnerabilities in that version - which were eliminated in 2008 - permit DDoS and other attacks. The current version is 2.2.17.

Anonymous claims that it has nothing to do with the theft of personal information of millions of users. But whoever stole the data, they did not have to overcome any major obstacles in light of the glaring security holes.

A number of PlayStation Network servers in North America have been back online since Saturday. Sony has promised to have all of its servers and services up and running by May 31st.

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