PlayStation Network

Sony drops fine appeal; agrees to pay £250,000

July 12th, 2013

Sony is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Ranked 87th on the 2012 list of Fortune Global 500, it is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products. Back in April 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity online music and video service were compromised after an external intrusion into their network. The company was hit with £250,000 fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) because of the data breach incident in 2011.

Sony has decided not to appeal the fine imposed by the ICO and agrees to pay £250,000 as a fine. Earlier when ICO had imposed the fine on the company, they had appealed for it explaining that the exposure of users’ data was the result of a “focused and determined criminal attack”.

The Japanese electronic giant further says that their decision to pay the fine was taken not because they agree with the ICO’s decision but because Sony fears that the appeal procedure will reveal information related to their security procedures. The ICO confirms that Sony will drop its appeal via Twitter.

“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” ICO deputy commissioner David Smith said when announcing the fine.

Sony spokesperson said “After careful consideration we are withdrawing our appeal. This decision reflects our commitment to protect the confidentiality of our network security from disclosures in the course of the proceeding. We continue to disagree with the decision on the merits”.

ICO welcomes Sony’s decision, saying “We welcome Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited’s decision not to appeal our penalty notice following a serious breach of the Data Protection Act.”

Flashback:

The Sony PlayStation Network and Qriocity online music and video service were compromised sometime between April 16 and April 19 in 2011 after an external intrusion into the network. Sony temporarily turned off both services to prevent any more attacks. Personal information belonging to 77 million account holders had been stolen. The information included names, addresses, log-in and password credentials, password security answers, email addresses, and birth dates. User purchase history and credit card information might had been compromised.

 

Alertsec strengthens security

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Hackers sentenced to time in prison

June 9th, 2013

LulzSec member Cody Kretsinger will spend one year in prison for his role in breaching the defenses of Sony Pictures Entertainment servers.

The hacker pleaded guilty in April 2012 to one count of conspiracy and one count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer, according to Reuters.

Kretsinger — also known as “Recursion,” — is part of LulzSec, an offshoot group from hacktivist collective Anonymous. LulzSec first came to attention in 2011, after a number of pranks including hacking The Sun’s website to proclaim that Rupert Murdoch was dead entered the spotlight, as well as the group’s role in coming to the defense of whistleblower website WikiLeaks. However, these pranks later turned into Sony’s worst nightmare — as the group stole the credentials and information of over 70 million user accounts of both PlayStation Network and Sony Online members.

This security breach led to Sony closing down the network for a month. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the U.K. later fined the firm £250,000 for what it considered a “serious breach of the Data Protection Act” for not keeping customer data adequately protected. Prosecutors say that the network breach cost Sony over $600,000 in damages.

The 25 year-old has been ordered by a U.S. district judge in Los Angeles to serve 12 months before performing 1,000 hours of community service upon release. Although prosecutors refused to say whether the hacker was co-operating with authorities in return for a softer sentence, a leading member of Anonymous, “Sabu,” in reality Hector Xavier Monsegur, has pleaded guilty to similar charges and offered the FBI information on other hackers.

Three other members of LulzSec — Ryan Ackroyd, Jake Davis, and Mustafa al-Bassam — all pleaded guilty to a computer hacking-related charge at Southwark Crown Court in London. Between them, the hackers admitted to trying to hack into various websites related to Nintendo and Sony, as well as plotting to take down law enforcement agency websites based in the U.S. and United Kingdom.

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Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen.

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