User data stolen in Sony PlayStation Network hack attack

Aaron Em

Fukushima: the real story

"Fukushima: the real story"

PSN has been down for something like a week now, ostensibly as a result of an attack from outside in which much user data was also compromised. That's the company line, and taken individually, each part of it is true; there was a successful attack, PSN is in fact damaged and offline, user data was indeed compromised.

It's only when these statements are added up together that they become a remarkably insidious lie, one in which these events are all presumed to follow one upon another without any particular interval or delay. Sony would very much like that everyone should assume this to be true; in fact, I strongly suspect they're so invested in maintaining their corporate fiction that they'll completely ignore this comment and any others like it for fear of substantiating them through denial.

In fact, the attack and compromise of user data took place very early in March, most likely on or very near the first of the month. (This may possibly be the result of the attackers intending what might have been the ultimate fuck-you of April Fool's jokes, but getting the month wrong due to a catastrophic misunderstanding of the International Date Line.) Sony, of course, was aware of the attack at the time it occurred, and very shortly thereafter became aware of the massive compromise of user data.

But it also occurred to them to note that the attack had been very competently done -- so competently, in fact, that it left the operation of the PSN infrastructure entirely undisturbed. This being the case, Sony recognized an opportunity for some extremely detailed and thorough long-range planning, a true corporate masterstroke of which people ten generations from now would speak in tones of hushed awe.

Which brings us, of course, to Fukushima. At this point the evacuation zone surrounds the plant to a diameter of twenty kilometers. This is necessary, we're told, because the reactor incident has resulted in some hot spots of short-lived but highly active isotopes, and their existence poses a hazard to human health in the period before they've been safely disposed of -- not to mention the difficulties in cleanup produced by having a bunch of people tramp their careless clodhoppers right through the mess and track it every which way.

This, again, is what we've been told, and what we are intended to believe -- just as we're intended to believe that the earthquake and tsunami, by themselves, would have sufficed to produce the level of damage seen at Fukushima. It is of course a testament to the conservative nature of engineers that the beleaguered old plant stood up as well as it did under such an onslaught; it must, however, be considered, that, just as with the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center supposedly at the hands of terrorists, such engineering *should* have been able to withstand all of the force to which it was exposed on 11 March, and much more besides.

Which brings us, of course, right back to Sony. It's a little-known but very real fact that Sony and TEPCO have partnered in a venture known as Sustainable Green Power Corporation -- and, as we all know, there is no practicable method of energy generation more green or sustainable than nuclear reactors designed and operated with safety precautions far more stringent than those employed by the outmoded, profit-driven existing nuclear industry. Put simply, Sony could not be more deeply involved in every level of TEPCO's nuclear operations. Beyond a brief consideration of the degree of access which such a close cooperation might offer undercover Sony operatives to the aged and vulnerable infrastructure of the Fukushima nuclear plant, little more needs to be said on the subject.

"But," you might ask, "why? Why on Earth would Sony even for a fraction of a second entertain such a bizarre and benighted idea as that?"

Don't you see, that's the simplest part of it all! Sony has got to know that they are going to get their asses absolutely sued into the ground over this, and depending on the magnitude of the resulting disaster, it may well destroy their console business entirely for much or all of the decade just now beginning. This is especially true in light of the fact that they're not letting on anything happened until a month and a half after the fact -- which, of course, explains the nearly-week-long outage, because after all they had to give themselves *some* excuse, didn't they? They couldn't risk trying to keep it secret forever, not when any morning might see the news story about the ten thousand people who all had PSN accounts and all had credit card fraud happen at exactly the same time.

So the question we need to be asking is, simply, this:

How big an army of lawyers can you fit in a 20km radius? Because I'm pretty sure that's how many Sony is going to use.

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