Sony Computer Entertainment Europe was fined today by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office for “serious breach of the Data Protection Act.” The £250,000 ($395,000) penalty stems from the April 2011 incident that saw the Sony PlayStation Network Platform hacked and the personal information of millions of customers compromised. The ICO said its investigation determined that the attack “could have been prevented if the software had been up-to-date” and said “technical developments also meant passwords were not secure.” The April 2011 fiasco shut down the PlayStation Network for more than a month as the company scrambled to respond. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe said of today’s ICO ruling that it “strongly disagreed” and planned to appeal.
David Smith, Deputy commissioner and director of data protection at the ICO said today, “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 ICO did add that the Sony network has now been completely rebuilt.
In a statement, according to TechCrunch, Sony noted today that the ICO recognized Sony was the victim of “a focused and determined criminal attack,” that there is no evidence encrypted payment card details were accessed and that “personal data is unlikely to have been used for fraudulent purposes” after the attack. The company added: “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.”