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U.K. Fines Sony $395,000 for PlayStation Network Hacker Attack

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Britain's Information Commissioner's Office cites a “serious breach" of data protection laws as the incident compromised personal data of millions of users.

LONDON -- Britain's Information Commissioner's Office has fined Sony Corp.'s Sony Computer Entertainment Europe $395,000 (£250,000) for a 2011 hacker attack on the Sony PlayStation Network.

The organization cited a “serious breach of the Data Protection Act," as the incident compromised personal data of millions of users.

The organization said that the personal information included "names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth and account passwords." It added that "customers’ payment card details were also at risk."

The ICO said its investigation found "that the attack could have been prevented if the software had been up-to-date, while technical developments also meant passwords were not secure."

“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," said David Smith, deputy commissioner and director of data protection at the ICO. "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. There’s no disguising that this is a business that should have known better."

ICO did, however, say that following the breach, "Sony has rebuilt its network platform to ensure that the personal information it processes is kept secure."

"Sony Computer Entertainment Europe strongly disagrees with the ICO’s ruling and is planning an appeal," the Sony unit said in a statement. "SCEE notes, however, that the ICO recognizes Sony was the victim of “a focused and determined criminal attack,” 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 attack on the PlayStation Network."

 

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai