Internet security has become one of the
largest web-related concerns now that 2011 has been riddled with major
corporate and government hacks. Since January 4, hacker groups like LulzSec (Lulz Security), Anonymous and Goatse Security have attacked Gmail
accounts, Bank of America, Lockheed
Martin Corp., and government
sectors in the United States, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Spain.
The gaming community was not safe, either. On
April 20, Sony's largest international databases -- the PlayStation Network
(PSN) and the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) databases -- went offline due to
a massive security breach that compromised the personal information of millions
of users. Sony announced the breach on April 26, and admitted that millions of customers'
credit card numbers were stolen and put up for sale on the internet as well.
This led to several PS3 returns around the world in
exchange for Xbox 360's.
Even though Sony has fully restored PSN worldwide,
the entire experience has made some gamers uneasy about sharing their personal
information again. According to Dennis Durkin, COO and CFO of Microsoft's
Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), what happened to Sony's PSN was
tragic, and even though the situation spurred PS3 returns for Xbox 360's,
Microsoft did not look at the experience as a way of obtaining personal gain.
"It's bad for the industry that this has
happened to Sony," said Durkin in an interview with IndustryGamers. "It's very damaging. So we don't wish that
upon anybody and you've seen we've been actually pretty quiet on the subject
because we don't want to appear to even be looking to be taking advantage of
somebody else's situation like that. That's just not in our DNA."
While Microsoft sympathizes with Sony's position,
it also wants to let Xbox Live users and Microsoft users in general know that
the company is doing all it can to protect
"Over time, all of the bets Microsoft is
making are about cloud bets," said Durkin. "We want customers to feel
confident about the quality of service they're getting, the reliability they're
getting, the security of the data that they have and the security of the
private information that they have. As a company, you can look back eight, nine
years ago, when Bill Gates wrote his Trustworthy Computing Memo that basically
said, 'We need to change the way we architect our products and it has to be
designed into the way we architect our products and services.' So it's in our
DNA, across the company. This is not just an IEB thing."
Durkin also warned that customers need to learn
from the PSN experience and take preventative measures to insure their security
as well, such as monitoring passwords and making sure they're different across
The bottom line for Microsoft, of course, is that
it's working to keep its online services like Xbox Live safe for users, and
recent mishaps shouldn't prevent the gaming community from doing what they
"[Xbox Live] is obviously very important to
our consumers," said Durkin. "It's part of the value proposition of
why consumers buy our gaming consoles.”