In a clear sign that Sony has learned a lesson from its security drama, the Japanese electronics maker has recruited a heavy hitter to its team.
Sony Corp. named Philip R. Reitinger as its senior vice president and chief information security officer. Reitinger, who was once a member of the U.S. Homeland Security Department, is now the corporate exec in charge of global information security and privacy for the company.
"Certainly the network issue was a catalyst for the appointment," a Sony spokesman told Reuters. "We are looking to bolster our network security even further."
Stemming the Stock Loss Tide
Sony took a black eye in April when hackers infiltrated its Sony PlayStation Network. Just weeks later, LulzSec, the same hackers who broke into the PBS website and led many to believe that murdered rapper Tupac Shakur was still alive, took responsibility for another attack on Sony Online Entertainment. During that attack, information from about 100 million user account profiles was exposed.
Shares in Sony stock have plummeted a whopping 55 percent since the company admitted to the massive hacking on April 27. The PlayStation hack rattled investor confidence in Sony's plans to expand into online music and movie distribution, and at the same time the electronics giant's TV business saw losses and economic conditions in general have worsened.
Wise Security Move
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, said Reitinger's appointment was a wise move. As he sees it, Sony needs to send a message that it is taking security seriously.
"Sony's breaches were largely caused by the company's own failures. Before the breaches occurred Sony had become a rolling joke with the security community, which had been outspoken about the fact that Sony was exposed and it was just a matter of time before someone compromised them," Enderle said.
"When you demonstrate negligence it's incredibly important, unless you enjoy litigation, that you overemphasize a focus on correcting the problem. Bringing on someone with a pedigree like Reitinger's goes a long way toward doing that."
Is Reitinger Enough?
Reitinger is a well-known veteran in the information security community. Beyond the Department of Homeland Security, he also has held key cyber-security positions at Microsoft, the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science, and from Yale Law School.
In his new role, Reitinger will be responsible for assuring the security of Sony's information assets and services. He will oversee information security, privacy and Internet safety across the company, coordinating closely with key headquarters groups and working in partnership with the information security community to bring the best ideas and approaches to Sony.
Is Reitinger's appointment enough to impress investors? Not in and of itself, analysts said.
Enderle suggested Sony's issue is the appearance of lacking confidence, with security just one aspect of the overall problem. In order to win back investors, he said, Sony needs to address the broader picture.
"The contrast between Sony and Apple, and Apple was based on Steve Jobs' idolized view of Sony, is just too stark," Enderle said. "The investors really want Sony to step up to its potential and will likely continue to punish the firm -- even if they fix the security problems -- if they don't start living up to that potential."
Posted: 2011-09-07 @ 8:50am PT
By 'about' 100 million users, you mean 77 million, right? Since...you know, that's the amount of accounts on PSN, and has only been advertised through the roof since the hack.
Posted: 2011-09-07 @ 3:16am PT
I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37" HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use BidsFresh.com