“Simply not good enough”: SCEE fined over PSN hack

UPDATE: A SCEE spokesperson has told the BBC that the platform holder “strongly disagrees” with the ICO ruling and plans to appeal.

“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,” added the spokesperson.

Original Story: The Information Commissioner’s Office has said that PSN security was “simply not good enough” and has fined SCEE £250,000 over the hacking of the PlayStation Network in April 2011.

Millions of PlayStation Network users’ personal information was at risk when the network was hacked. Names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, account passwords and payment card details were all thought to have been compromised.

Terming the hack a “a serious breach of the Data Protection Act,” the Information Commissioner’s Office has said in a statement this morning: “An ICO investigation found that the attack could have been prevented if the software had been up-to-date, while technical developments also meant passwords were not secure.”

Deputy commissioner and director of Data Protection David Smith had some sharp words for SCEE, too, saying in a statement: “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 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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