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The UK Information Commissioner’s office announced today that it will levy a hefty fine of £250,000, or about $395,000, for the infamous 2011 data breach, more commonly referred to as the 'PSN Hack'.
“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, said David Smith, Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection in a statement. “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.”
The fine has been levied on Sony for the incident back in 2011 where their PlayStation Network was subject to repeated hacks, eventually causing Sony to pull the entire network offline for 3 weeks. However, the hackers did manage to siphon off account information for millions of users, including personal information and credit card details.
It is believed that the hack was initiated as a form of backlash against Sony for not only going after George Hotz, also known as GeoHotz, for hacking the PS3, but also failing to acknowledge that their servers had any vulnerability. Sony repeatedly assured its customers that the PSN could not be breached, despite being hacked several times. It was only after evidence of users information being leaked was made public that Sony decided to take PSN down for a thorough forensic sweep. However, by the time Sony took PSN down, it was too late as too many user accounts had been breached and too many personal details leaked.
The fine being levied on Sony is definitely steep, but it does set a strong example for other companies that offer online subscriptions to ensure that the protection of user information should be at the top of their list.