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Sony, Stuxnet Big ‘Winners’ At Pwnie Awards

August 6, 2011

In a year where their online gaming network was hacked, the credit card numbers of customers were compromised, and their popular video game console was forced offline for a considerable amount of time, Sony was presented with a dubious award for the “Most Epic Fail” of the year.

The award, known as a “Pwnie” — fashioned after a small horse and named in honor of the slang term for totally dominating someone — was presented to the Japanese electronics giant during a Thursday gathering of computer security professionals in Las Vegas, according to the AFP’s Glenn Chapman.

“After learning the hard way that their PlayStation Network was about as porous as air, Sony had to shut it down for over two months to rebuild it from scratch,” Pwnie judges said, according to Chapman. “In doing so, they made everyone from your eight-year old cousin to your barber learn about the importance of security”¦ Hooray for us, sorry Sony shareholders.”

Their victory in the category should not be a surprise, not only because the attack on their PlayStation Network was widely considered a public relations nightmare, permitted hackers to access personal data from an estimated 100 million accounts, and cost the Sony an estimated $1 billion, but also because, as John D. Sutter of CNN.com points out, the Tokyo-based corporation was the only nominee.

They were hardly the only “winners”, however.

Stuxnet, the virus that reportedly was created in order to play havoc with nuclear facilities in Iran, was honored with the “Pwnie for Epic 0wnage” (i.e. best hack job). According to Sutter, no one came to the stage to accept the awards. While it has been suggested that the US and Israel were behind the worm, it has not been proven, and the identity of the malware’s creator is unknown.

Chapman notes that George “GeoHot” Hotz was honored for his response to a lawsuit filed against him by Sony. Hotz was sued for cracking the defenses of the PlayStation 3, and replied to the company with a rap song. He has since been hired by Facebook.

RSA, the security division of EMC Corporation, was presented with a Pwnie for “Lamest Vendor Response” due to accusations that they tried to dismiss a cyberattack earlier this year–one that ultimately led to an attack against Lockheed-Martin.

A complete list of the Pwnie award winners is available online at http://pwnies.com/winners/

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