Servers owned by Amazon were used as a staging area for the hack that crippled Sony's online entertainment network, according to a source quoted by Bloomberg.
Hackers rented computers from Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) under an alias and used them to launch the PlayStation Network (PSN) attack, Bloomberg reported on Saturday morning.
The story gave no specific details on how the cloud service may have been used, but as AWS is an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud renting a server would give the perpetrators access to a swathe of additional rentable features.
The PSN hack, in which the personal information of around 77 million customers that used the service was compromised, was disclosed by Sony in late April. The raid occurred between 17 and 19 April, Sony said.
If the Bloomberg story is correct it is not the first time AWS components have been used in hacking-related events. In 2009 hackers used EC2 to host command and control functions for a Zeus banking trojan.
In November a security researcher named Thomas Roth announced that he had used high-powered AWS instances — rentable servers in the AWS cloud — to crack a hashing algorithm used to conceal passwords.
In January Roth announced that he planned to release an open-source kit for cracking Wi-Fi passwords using the AWS cloud.
"I hope that people get a better feeling on how the real impact of high-performance computing in the cloud really is," Roth told ZDNet UK at the time.