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Sony: Hacker Breach More Extensive Than First Believed

2 May, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Sony Computer Entertainment took its gaming network Sony Online Entertainment offline May 2, after determining that a mid-April hacker attack on its PlayStation Network was more extensive than it thought.

“We have had to take the SOE service down temporarily,” a notice to SOE customers said. “In the course of our investigation into the intrusion into our systems we have discovered an issue that warrants enough concern for us to take the service down effective immediately. We will provide an update later today (Monday). We apologize for any inconvenience and greatly appreciate your patience.”

Sony determined that personal information from approximately 24.6 million SOE accounts was compromised, including tens of thousands of non-U.S. credit or debit card numbers.

The April 17 hacker attack compromised the personal information of roughly 77 million PlayStation 3 users, and may have involved the credit card information of more than 10 million PlayStation Network subscribers. The breach forced Sony executives to apologize publicly May 1, as well as pull the Network and the Qriocity music service offline for weeks.

The breach has resulted in a class-action lawsuit and American politicians demanding answers from Sony, along with calls for stricter online consumer protection legislation.

“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry,” said Kazuo Hirai, executive deputy president of Sony Corp. “These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security. We take the security of our consumers’ information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data.”

Sony said it hopes to have some of its services — gaming, music and video to begin with — back online this week, and will launch a customer appreciation program that will offer free downloads and games to customers for 30 days. Subscribers will have to change their account passwords when signing back on to Sony online services.

Sony pinpointed the attack to a data-center located in San Diego. It has worked with an outside firm to implement better security on its online networks.

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