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Sony hit with £250,000 fine over PlayStation Network hack

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PSN logo.jpgSony have been hit with a sizeable £250,000 fine for their failure to prevent the hacking scandal which rocked their PlayStation Network back in 2011.

Issued by the UK Information Commissioner's Office, the hack (which caused the network to be taken offline for a number of weeks and left the personal details of millions of users exposed) "could have been prevented if the software had been up-to-date".

"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.

"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."

(You can view further commentary from David Smith in the video at the bottom of this post.)

Sony has made significant improvements to the security systems of the PSN in the wake of the attack, and are now looking to appeal the ruling. In a statement issued to TechCrunch, Sony state:

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe strongly disagrees with the ICO's ruling and is planning an appeal.

SCEE notes, however, that the ICO recognises 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.

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. The reliability of our network services and the security of our consumers' information are of the utmost importance to us, and we are appreciative that our network services are used by even more people around the world today than at the time of the criminal attack.

It seems there may yet be another twist in this ongoing saga.

Were you affected by the PSN outage? What are your memories of the period? Do you think Sony's fine is fair? Let us know in the comments section below!

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