back to article Sony post-mortem: Obama lobbies for new legal powers to thwart hackers

In the aftermath of the massive hack attack on Sony Pictures – which the US government continues to insist was carried out by North Korea – President Barak Obama is expected to lobby hard for legislative overhauls to battle online threats. He will reveal those proposals early next week, an unnamed White House spokesperson told …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    QUICK!

    Hitch your bandwagon onto this Japanese Company Event. There are a few billion in freshly printed subsidies in the air and voters to be seduced with random promises.

  2. moiety

    Might want to start by yanking on the NSA's choke chain. Near as I can figure, it's their influence and insistence that they get dealt in on information for everything that is the leading cause of insecurity on the intertubes. Forgetting, of course, that once the hole is there, it's not just them that can go delving.

    It won't turn out like that, of course, because politicians as a species have no fucking idea how anything works, let alone something as complicated as technology. It'll probably be a light dusting of erosion of personal freedom, mixed with stuff to make security professionals lives harder; served on a gigantic platter of cluelessness. And the final product will, of course, do absolutely sod all to make anyone any safer.

  3. John G Imrie Silver badge

    privacy

    If you want student privacy ban face book

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Big Brother

    According to other reports...

    ...the NSA was watching it happen. If they could see it, why couldn't they do anything about it? Do they need more power so that next time they are not "forced" to just sit and watch? Or maybe they are more inclined to just sit and watch and gather intel on the process rather than show their hand and actually act in the interests of their county's economic well-being.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: According to other reports...

      That's my read on this as well. Given a choice, you don't reveal your sensing systems, attack capabilities or, especially, your defensive capabilities. It doesn't help that both sides of the coin, attack and defense in the form of the NSA and Cyber-Command, are joined at the hip in the body of one individual, the director. We are talking about National Security (always capitalized by politicians). While revealing our capabilities to North Korea probably isn't a big deal, you can bet that since China is involved at least in a supporting role (much as they might squirm), we don't want them knowing anything (more). Frankly this is a no-win for the NSA/C-C.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: According to other reports...

        So a conspiracy that the US govt ignored advanced reports of an attack by a Japanese corporation as an excuse to go to war and drop a bomb on somebody.

        Wasn't there a movie about this ?

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Faster, cheaper broadband connections

    Wouldn't the solution be slower more expensive connections?

    If they only had 56K dialup then the NSA would have had to time to get an warrant and walk over to Sony before the hackers had finished downloading the data.

    The solution, create a General Post Office and give it a monopoly on telecomunications

  6. John Miles

    The Answer is simple

    Make the directors of companies and organisations where if they are hacked it can impact people's lives or seriously impact nations security criminally responsible for failure to adequately protect that data/system.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The Answer is simple

      But that's the point - Sony can't be expected to protect itself against the mutant radioactive cyber ninjas of North Korea. So if it was N Korea then they are off the hook, they could only be responsible if it was a regular bunch of script kiddies.

    2. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: The Answer is simple

      @ John Miles

      You make it out like Sony executives have never had any incentive on their own to take precautions against these sorts of things. I think the market is doing a fantastic job of punishing Sony as it is. Maybe we'll all get lucky and this will bankrupt them.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: The Answer is simple

        "I think the market is doing a fantastic job of punishing Sony as it is."

        There is no evidence of the market ever having had any impact on a company because they acted against the interests of the users. The market is just an idea. It might work in theory if you had a transparent market, but then again when was the last time you bought a car and the salesman told you that the manufacturer may have killed opposition leaders in Argentinia and last year has avoided going to court about that?

        If the market would work, DRM would be gone by now, as people would buy DRM-free versions of what they want.

        1. Preston Munchensonton

          Re: The Answer is simple

          "If the market would work, DRM would be gone by now, as people would buy DRM-free versions of what they want."

          You can't make someone buy something they don't want (unless you enact a law about it, e.g. PPACA in US). Anyone who expected people to buy something in a digital form after physical sales were already in decline is under significant delusions.

          The market isn't an idea, any more than your body is only an idea instead of the interconnected organs and systems. The market is an organism and it lives on information. There's obviously plenty of bad information about Sony at present. There doesn't seem to be much bad information to sway loads of music buyers to shift from DRM to non-DRM music files, otherwise these companies would follow the feedback from those paying money.

          Doesn't anyone understand basic economics anymore? Of course not, unless it's about a free handout and collective, centralized planning of the economy. Pfft.

  7. DougS Silver badge

    Ah politicians...

    The solution to crime is always taking away rights from citizens to give more power to police, and increasing jail time for violations.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Ah politicians...

      Not quite.. the solution to getting elected is. to <what you said>

      We have a politician where I live who constantly touts what laws he authored to reduce forest fires. Not worked yet until he figures out a way to banish lightning. But he's trying and he keeps getting re-elected with his stupid and ill-conceived laws.

      At election time, voters don't care about the reality of laws, they just want to elect someone who will claim to do something. Making laws is what politicians do to get elected. The rest of us get screwed.

  8. Misky
    Meh

    So this was (if believe the bollox) an illegal act, committed by an unfriendly government state on a company that basically left the keys in the front door with a big sign saying "please rob me", and the solution is to make more laws about privacy for students? Right....

  9. P. Lee Silver badge
    Coat

    Cheaper, faster broadband

    Cos' them crazy commies forgot to DDOS 'em too!

    Next time, Sony... next time!

    1. Kane Silver badge

      Re: Cheaper, faster broadband

      "Next time, Sony... next time!"

      Why did I just have a flashback to my youth watching Inspector Gadget?

  10. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    "... improving consumer and student privacy"

    Hahahahahahahaha hahahahaha hahahaha. Wooo, who knew the man was such a talented comodian. If G.W. had said it, it would be a humorous bit of hypocrisy but coming from the champion of "Change" it's flat out hysterical. I suppose he could believe privacy means holding a copy of everything in a government database but it's probably more likely that he wants us to believe it will be safe in that database.

  11. Katie Saucey
    Holmes

    .." improve confidence in technology by .."

    I have absolute confidence in the technology, IT works as advertised, if you know what the fuck you are doing. The problems arise when the users do not either understand, or they ignore it's limitations, or are sold bullshit dreams by people who should know better.

    1. razorfishsl

      Re: .." improve confidence in technology by .."

      It is nonsense that you 'know what you are doing' will prevent an attack.

      Consider 'zimbra' a popular email system, those assholes left an exploit in the front end that would allow a remote attacker to craft a simple soap packet, thereby giving access to an XML file that contained all the passwords for the installation.

      This then allowed a privilege escalation to take place.

      So anyone who had a Zimbra installation got owned.....

      How would being knowledgeable prevent such a zero-day attack?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More civil liberty theft coming

    The Beeb reports that Cameron is off to get his orders from Obama - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30766106 Dutifully they also report that the discussions will centre around these issues, so expect Cameron to return all enlightened, and give yet more power to GCHQ as we head to more war.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More civil liberty theft coming

      I think the military industrial complex is getting its defence in early as about half the EU politicos amazingly seem to be still defending privacy & condemning the over-collection as disproportionate.

      Euro-Parliament is bubbling away on producing possibly damning reports, various ECtHR judgements will come out in 2015. Problem (for freedom/democracy/evolution of society etc) is that the other half of the EU politicos are completely OK with civil liberty theft.

      Should be an interesting year!

  13. Busby

    I may be missing the obvious but why are the US so upset. Sony as far as I know aren't a US organisation. Yes I'm sure they employ plenty of people in the US as well as many other nations but I thought they were a Japanese company.

    Why then are the US imposing sanctions against one country for action taken against a third countries organisation? Should Sony not be lobbying either the Japanese authorities or whichever Island state they claim is their head quarters for tax purposes to take action against the nasty Norks?

    I obviously don't understand the whole globalization thing as I can't see why the US feel the need to be the ones responsible for responding to the hack.

    1. Keef

      "I obviously don't understand the whole globalization thing as I can't see why the US feel the need to be the ones responsible for responding to the hack."

      I have no argument with your post, it's entirely reasonable, unlike most of mine.

      But you do seem to have missed the various actions of the USA over the last few years.

      Team America: World Police, that's where we've been since the 50's.

      And don't forget Team Britain: American Puppet, we are almost as bad as we accept anything they tell us, even if it was G.W. Bush speaking.

  14. Big Ed

    Solving the Identify Theft Problem will be an Interesting Obama Charade

    Part of the Identity Theft Problem can be traced to stolen Social Security Numbers. And Obama does not want to solve that problem because it will disrupt his drive to amnesty illegal immigrant workers. It will disrupt it because many illegals workers use stolen SSNs. So if the FBI cracks down on stolen SSNs, the FBI will also have to prosecute the illegals that have them.

    Gotta love politics... Obama would rather let legals unravel bad credit problems from stolen indentifies than go after the root cause.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem Reaction Solution

    Independent security researches are not convinced that the NK government were behind it, since an attack can be spoofed to come from anywhere. Indeed if you wanted to frame an enemy you could deliberately leave a calling card, e.g. to appear as if you mistakenly connected from your home node, just as terrorists have an uncanny tendancy to leave id cards at the scene of otherwise well planned attacks. Then again, this game's been going on so long that a real enemy might do this deliberately to feed conspiracy theories that divert blame from themselves.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Liability

    as another post mentioned if it is North Korea Sony are off the hook, if it's disgruntled ex employees and/or script kiddies they are in a totally different position.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's see if I get my order of events correct:

    - NSA outed as a Prime consumer of all things digital.

    - A few companies rightfully decide their users want to "Opt Out" of those "data collection" programs.

    - NSA, GCHQ, et al complain loudly and demand that Always On encryption be turned Off. Both groups spread FUD by saying the tools are necessary to "prevent" terrorism and child porn but refuse to provide any evidence.

    - US House of Reps / Senate decline NSA's demands by voting No.

    - NSA, GCHQ continue whining like a 3 year who has had a toy taken away. They then state that the tools allowed them to get evidence on perps *after the perps were already held in custody*... Which seems to go against "preventing" anything and entirely about arresting people THEN building a case against them which I believe is the root of the problem. Well, the root of the problem from the average citizens perspective.

    - Sony Pictures "hacked" - loses pretty much everything. Hacked is in quotes, not because I think they did it themselves but rather because I'm not certain it was the North Korean boogeyman. The FBI seemed to figure NK pretty damn quickly. Far quicker than they've ever built a case against other hacking groups. Which tells me that they were explicitly told who to blame from the people in charge.

    - NSA states they actually saw the attack happening on Sony Pictures --- and did nothing.

    - US and UK leaders tell the press that more powers are needed for the NSA / GCHQ.

    Is that about right? If so, then seriously WTF? Seems to me the only thing these governments need is to be voted out and replaced. Of course, the only problem with that is the replacements are just as likely to want to spy on everyone.

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