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Sony chiefs sorry for security breach

SONY executives bowed in apology yesterday fora security breach in the company’s PlayStation Network that caused the loss of personal data of some 77 million accounts on the online service.

“We deeply apologise for the inconvenience we have caused,” said Kazuo Hirai, chief of Sony’s PlayStation video game unit, who was among the three executives who bowed for several seconds at the company’s Tokyo headquarters in the traditional style of a Japanese apology.

Hirai said parts of the service would be back this week and the company would beef up security measures. But he and other executives acknowledged that not enough had been done in security precautions, and promised that the company’s network services were under a basic review to prevent a recurrence.

Hirai said the FBI and other authorities had been contacted to start an investigation into what the company called “a criminal cyber attack” on Sony’s data centre in San Diego, California.

Sony said account information, including names, birth dates, email addresses and log-in information, was compromised for players using its PlayStation Network. Hirai asked all users to change their passwords.

Hirai reiterated what the company said last week — that even though it had no direct evidence the data were even taken, it cannot rule out the possibility.

He said data from 10 million credit cards were believed to be involved, and Sony still does not know whether information was stolen.

Sony has added software monitoring and enhanced data protection and encryption as new security measures, he said. The company said it would offer “welcome back” freebies such as complimentary downloads and 30 days of free service around the world to show remorse and appreciation.

“I see my work as first making sure Sony can regain the trust from our users,” Hirai said.

The network, which serves both the PlayStation video game machines and Sony’s Qriocity movie and music services, has been shut down since April 20. It is a system that links gamers worldwide in live play, and also allows users to upgrade and download games and other content.

Hirai said Sony suspected it was under attack by hackers starting on April 17.


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