Sony wins Pwnie Award for Most Epic Fail

Even though it came from the most noteworthy security conference in the country, it’s a distinction most companies would probably rather avoid.

That is, the winner of the annual Pwnie Award for Most Epic Fail was crowned at this week’s Black Hat conference. To no one’s surprise, the victor was Sony.

Earlier this year, Sony took the Playstation Network completely offline for around a month, with some services taking even longer to restore. This was in response to a hacker or group of hackers who managed to infiltrate the service’s back end and gain access to nearly unfettered personal data of the millions of registered PSN users.

As a means of compensation for the downtime, Sony offered two downloadable PS3 games, two downloadable PSP games, and one free month of the premium Playstation Plus service to everyone who had an active PSN account before the hack.

Anyone who was paying for premium services on the PSN also received credit for the time the services were disabled.

During the whole debacle, Sony executives candidly admitted the vulnerability in its system that allowed the hackers to gain access was a “known vulnerability,” but the company just assumed no one would ever be able to exploit it.

With that backdrop, Sony was listed as every one of the five nominees for the epic fail award category. No one from the company was on hand to accept the accolade.

Meanwhile, fellow PS3 hater George Hotz, who was involved in an entirely different PS3 hacking scandal, won the Pwnie Award for best song, for when he posted a rap video on Youtube that discussed the injustice of his legal battle against the electronics giant.

The Black Hat conference is arguably the most prominent trade show for online and computer security in the US, and the Pwnie Awards ceremony is one of the favorite events.

It does also acknowledge winners in the security field, such as this year’s winner for Best Privilege Escalation Bug, Tarjei Mandt. Mandt found more than 40 vulnerabilities in Windows.