Sony has been fined by the U.K.’s data protection watchdog for the April 2011 data breach of the PlayStation Network which compromised the personal details of millions of users. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined the company close to $400,000 (£250,000) for the breach, describing it as “a serious breach of the [U.K.'s] Data Protection Act” (DPA).
The PlayStation Network hack compromised users’ names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth and account passwords. Customers’ payment card details were also at risk, according to the ICO, which — having investigated the event — has concluded that the hack attack could have been prevented if Sony’s software had been up-to-date, while ”technical developments” also meant passwords were not secure.
The ICO is empowered to levy a fine on companies if there is a serious breach of section 4(4) of the DPA which states:
(4)Subject to section 27(1), it shall be the duty of a data controller to comply with the data protection principles in relation to all personal data with respect to which he is the data controller.
Commenting on the fine, David Smith, Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection, said Sony — a company that was processing card payments for its service — should simply have “known better”.
“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Smith described the penalty on Sony as “substantial”, adding: “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.”
Article courtesy of TechCrunch