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Sony fined £250,000 after “preventable” data breach

24th January 2013

Sony has been fined £250,000 by the data watchdog for a breach that compromised the personal information of millions of the UK’s PlayStation users

The Sony PlayStation Network Platform was hacked in April 2011 compromising the personal information of millions of customers, including their names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth and account passwords. Customers’ payment card details were also at risk.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) enforced the fine after it found the attack could have been prevented. Following the breach, Sony has rebuilt its Network Platform to ensure that the personal information it processes is kept secure.

Should have known better

David Smith, Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection, said: “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.

“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.

“The penalty we’ve issued today is clearly substantial, but we make no apologies for that. The case is one of the most serious ever reported to us. It directly affected a huge number of consumers, and at the very least put them at risk of identity theft.

“If there’s any bright side to this it’s that a PR Week poll shortly after the breach found the case had left 77 per cent of consumers more cautious about giving their personal details to other websites. Companies certainly need to get their act together but we all need to be careful about who we disclose our personal information to.”

Read more about the fraud on the Information Commissioner's Office website. 

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Related links

Sony PlayStation data theft advice Sony PlayStation accounts compromised