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Hackers find profit in entertainment databases

Entertainment Content Protection Summit 2012

For years, hackers didn’t pay much attention to the websites and databases of entertainment companies, but since the intrusion into Sony’s PlayStation Network last May, it has been open season. Cyber criminals have targeted Sony Pictures, “World of Warcraft” publisher Blizzard Software and several other entertainment companies.

The stolen data is worth cash. How much depends on what thieves are able to compile.

Employee databases are the most valuable, since black market sales of complete identities (account and Social Security Numbers, addresses, dates of birth, etc.) can sell for a “matter of dollars each” says Sean Brady, director of identity and data protection at RSA.

User info, which is less complete, fetches less, but still earns the thieves several hundred to several thousand dollars. It’s a lot of money for a couple hours worth of work.

Given the large audiences entertainment companies attract, experts say don’t expect the attacks to end soon.

“What the entertainment industry is starting to experience now is a volume game,” says Brady. Hackers “have been targeting financial services for a while and now they’re continuing to broaden their footprint.”

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