Security breach 'the most serious we have had reported to us,' says ICO

Sony slapped with £250,000 fine for PSN hack

Sony has been fined £250,000 as a result of the PlayStation Network hack in April 2011.

After the PSN hack, in which millions of users’ personal data was compromised, the PSN was down for a month as Sony looked to plug the security holes in the online service.

Information such as addresses, credit card numbers and other personal details were thought to have been stolen by the hackers.

The fine has been handed down by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office after it found Sony was in breach of the Data Protection Act, and the body’s deputy commissioner David Smith said the hack was “the most serious breach we have had reported to us”.

He added that Sony had “let everybody down”, and said it was making no apologies for the penalty.

A statement from ICO said that Sony should have known better about the potential for a security breach, and was in no doubt that the console giant had access to both the technical knowledge and resources to prevent such an event from happening.

“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 Smith.

“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."

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