Sony’s Howard Stringer Breaks Silence on PlayStation Security Breach

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“I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did,” he admits.


Sony chairman Howard Stringer apologized to customers for the PlayStation Network data breach and said that Sony would begin to restore service “in the coming days,” in a letter posted Thursday on the PlayStation blog.

Sony has also struck an arrangement with identity protection firm Debix, allowing it to offer AllClear ID Plus identity protection program at no cost to PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders, Sony also announced.

In his letter, Stringer cited the new program, which includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user, and also gave a nod to Kazuo Hirai, the Sony exec who many believe to be Stringer’s heir apparent.

Sony's PlayStation and Qriocity online services have been shut down since April 20 after an unauthorized person hacked into the accounts of an estimated 77 million users, gaining access to names, addresses, passwords and possibly credit card information. Information from Sony Online Entertainment also was stolen, which could mean that an additional 24.6 million users might be affected.

“Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we’ve all experienced and on fixing it,” Stringer’s letter to customers reads. “We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience.”

Stringer’s letter—his first blog post to customers since the breach—also cited Hirai, whose promotion in March fueled speculation that he would succeed Stringer as Sony’s chief executive.

Wrote Stringer: “Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, we have teams working around the clock and around the world to restore your access to those services as quickly, and as safely, as possible.”

Hirai has apologized for the breach; and on Tuesday, an 8-page letter from Hirai was submitted to a House subcommittee, in response to questions about the breach. On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade held a hearing on data theft.

In the letter to customers, Stringer stated that “there is no confirmed evidence any credit card or personal information has been misused, and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Stringer also addressed criticism over when customers were notified that their personal information had been compromised. His letter reads: “I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. … I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process.”

In another post on Thursday, Sony reported that its global network and security teams “began the final stages of internal testing of the new system, an important step towards restoring PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.”

Further information about the identity theft protection program can be found here.

Stringer’s letter can be found here.