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Sony fined £250,000 for spilling millions of gamers’ data

2011 hack remains bad news for firm
Thu Jan 24 2013, 09:40
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JAPANESE GAMING HOUSE Sony has been presented with a £250,000 fine for the 2011 hacking of its gaming network that compromised millions of gamers' personal information.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe was the scene of a "serious breach" of the UK Data Protection Act, according to the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), and deserves a large fine.

The ICO said that the hacking of the Playstation Network leaked customer names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth and account details, and put payment card information in harms way.

Sony could have avoided this, and the downtime that its network endured, if it had kept its software up to date and customer passwords in order. In short, it should have known better.

"If you are responsible for so many payment card details and log-in details then keeping that personal data secure has to be your priority. In this case that just didn't happen, and when the database was targeted - albeit in a determined criminal attack - the security measures in place were simply not good enough," said David Smith, deputy commissioner and director for Data Protection at the ICO.

"There's no disguising that this is a business that should have known better. It is a company that trades on its technical expertise, and there's no doubt in my mind that they had access to both the technical knowledge and the resources to keep this information safe."

Smith added that the ICO "made no apologies" for its "substantial" fine, adding that this incident is "one of the most serious" ever reported to it.

Apparently Sony was hacked in retaliation for its heavy-handed reaction to George Hotz and his release of information about about how to jailbreak the Playstation 3. The attacks on its network kept services and gamers offline for months.

Sony said that it plans to appeal the fine, adding that the ICO itself suggested that the hacking was not as bad as it sounds.

"Sony Computer Entertainment Europe notes the ICO recognises that Sony was the victim of 'a focused and determined criminal attack' and for its findings that: 'there is no evidence that encrypted payment card details were accessed', and that 'personal data is unlikely to have been used for fraudulent purposes' following the network attack on the Playstation Network," it told The INQUIRER in a statement.

"Criminal attacks on electronic networks are a real and growing aspect of 21st century life and Sony continually works to strengthen our systems, building in multiple layers of defence and working to make our networks safe, secure and resilient." µ

 

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