Hackers targeted Sony's PlayStation Network again after the company took the network down late last month to recover from a previous attack. Though the attack caused minimal direct financial damage, one has to wonder if Sony's reputation and its own bottom line will recover.
Consumer complaints tipped Sony off to the attack by May 18, but the actual attack may have taken place on May 16 and 17. The company announced the intrusion on Thursday. The hackers stole 100,000 yen (about US$1,225) from account holders.
So-net Entertainment spokesman Keisuke Watanabe thinks that this latest attack is unlikely to be connected with the earlier PSN issue, because of differences in the methods of the two attacks. So far, he notes, the company has seen no evidence that other accounts have been hacked. "At this point in our investigations, we have not confirmed any data leakage. We have not found any sign of a possibility that a third party has obtained members' names, address, birth dates and phone numbers," Watanabe elaborated.
This hacker attack is just the latest in a string of woes that have so far added up to a bad year for Sony. Between the massive earthquake in Japan in March and the PSN outage that stretched from April into May, Sony has had to revise the estimates for its full financial report the fiscal year steeply downward. How steeply? It's rather worse than simply wiping out the profit for the year much worse, in fact.
At one point, Sony had predicted a profit of 70 billion yen, which is about US$855 million. Now, however, the company expects to see a loss of 260 billion yen, which is equivalent to US$3.14 billion yes, that's billion, with a b. At least 22 billion yen of that loss can be blamed directly on the earthquake; that number might increase, however, when Sony releases the actual report.
Sony believes that the PSN breach and outage will account for 14 billion yen of the loss. That figure seems very low, however, when you consider that it equates to less than US$2.00 per exposed account. So expect to see that number revised upwards as well especially if the network is still vulnerable to attack, as some observers have noted. It's a severe blow to PSN users, who may decide to take their business elsewhere. It may be an even worse blow to Sony's reputation, despite continuing attempts by the company to increase security on the network.
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