Sony ordered to tighten up data security

The Japanese government has ordered Sony to sort its data security after a series of embarrasing hack attacks. Photo / Supplied
The Japanese government has ordered Sony to sort its data security after a series of embarrasing hack attacks. Photo / Supplied

Sony has been told by the Japanese government to strengthen its data security as the electronics and entertainment giant reels from a series of attacks by hackers.

The industry ministry officially instructed Sony to implement its own plan to improve management and protection of key information.

"This is a serious case, considering the nature of the information and the scope of the data leak," the ministry said in a statement.

In April the firm admitted personal information such as the user names, passwords, addresses and birth dates of more than 100 million people may have been compromised after hackers struck the PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment services.

The hackers, staging one of the biggest data breaches since the advent of the Internet, may also have made off with credit and debit card data, the company said.

Sony said the data breach will likely result in at least a $170 million hit to operating profit this financial year in terms of insurance and damages costs.

The firm, which has since suffered attacks on more websites worldwide including in Greece and Thailand, announced the initial security breach on April 26, after discovering it on April 19.

Since then, Sony has hired outside security firms to put in place new safety measures.

"The fact that such a case happened and that it took time to report the incident to users as well as to this ministry is very regrettable," the ministry said.

The ministry said it had held three hearings about the case, and had reviewed the company's plans to improve its security.

The ministry also ordered Sony to tighten internal communications as well as exchanges with partner companies to further enhance protection of consumer information.

Meanwhile, Sony said it will resume PlayStation Network and Qriocity Services in Japan and other Asian countries from Saturday, after the services in the United States and Europe resumed on May 15.

"We are taking aggressive action including increasing security measures and working with respective authorities to address the concerns that were raised by this incident," said Kazuo Hirai, Sony executive deputy president.

"We are making consumer data protection a full-time, company-wide commitment so that our customers can rest assured about enjoying their entertainment," he said in a statement.

Sony said it has found no evidence so far that credit card data has been stolen and fraudulent financial transactions made due to the data leak.

- AFP

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