[ISN] Sony warns certain computers not hacker-proof

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 00:14:10 PST

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    JANUARY 24, 2002   
    TOKYO: Japan's Sony issued a warning on Thursday after finding a
    software problem in a popular range of computers that could expose
    around 900,000 customers to attacks from hackers.
    "(We) have discovered a security issue in voice audial integrated
    operation software... that is pre-installed in some models of VAIO
    computers," the entertainment giant said in a statement.
    No-one has complained of a security breach yet, but one tech-savy
    customer alerted Sony to a possible problem with the software in its
    purple-coloured VAIO computers.
    "There is a danger that say a hacker wrote a computer code and put it
    into an email... it could possibly get through VAIO computer security,
    go to the hard disk and re-write or copy private documents," Sony
    spokeswoman Merran Wrigley said.
    Customers using Version 3.0 or Version 3.1 software were advised to
    download a special program from Sony's homepage to render their
    computer secure.
    "Even though we haven't had any complaints we felt it was an important
    issue to address so we made the announcement and at the same time we
    offered the solution," said Wrigley.
    Sony, which has sold 900,000 VAIO desktops and laptops worldwide that
    carry the software -- 890,000 in Japan -- hoped its hasty response to
    the problem would prevent denting consumer confidence.
    "You have to be very open when you find a security issue that needs to
    be addressed. Hopefully there won't be a negative backlash," Wrigley
    The firm had enjoyed strong sales of its VAIO computers, which allow
    users to listen to music, watch television and access the Internet
    from a very compact machine.
    "In fiscal 2000 (to March 2001) we sold 2.5 million VAIO computers
    globally and this year we have projected sales of 3.9 million," said
    the spokeswoman.
    The computers come in a range of prices from around 120,000
    yen-to-300,000 yen ($895-to-2,240).
    Sony is due to announce its earnings for the third quarter to December
    on Friday.
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