Skip to main content

Sony fined almost $400,000 for 2011 PlayStation security breach

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has been fined almost $400,000 by the British Information Commissioner’s Office for the hacker attack its PlayStation network suffered in April 2011. The ICO said Sony was in part responsible for the subsequent breach of customer privacy through negligence in keeping its security software and protocols up to date.

Describing the hacking attack as “a serious breach of the Data Protection Act,” the Information Commissioner’s Office fined the Sony subsidiary £250,000, noting that “the attack could have been prevented if the [security] software had been up-to-date, while technical developments also meant passwords were not secure.” The organization does, however, note that “following the breach, Sony has rebuilt its Network Platform to ensure that the personal information it processes is kept secure.”

In a statement accompanying the ICO’s announcement of the fine, David Smith, the British Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection, admitted that “the penalty we’ve issued today is clearly substantial, but we make no apologies for that,” going on to describe the PlayStation breach as “one of the most serious ever reported to us [as well as one that] directly affected a huge number of consumers, and at the very least put them at risk of identity theft.”

“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,” Smith said. “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.”

However, it wasn’t all bad news, he continued. “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 percent of consumers more cautious about giving their personal details to other websites.”

Payment of the fine is due by February 14, with a 20 percent discount (bringing the total to £200,000, or $315,740 USD) if the amount is paid in full by February 13.

In response to the ICO statement, a spokesman at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe said that the company felt that the fine was undeserved. “Sony Computer Entertainment Europe strongly disagrees with the ICO’s ruling and is planning an appeal,” a spokesman for the company said in a statement. “SCEE notes, however, that the ICO recognizes Sony was the victim of ‘a focused and determined criminal attack,’ that ‘there is no evidence that encrypted payment card details were accessed,’ and that ‘personal data is unlikely to have been used for fraudulent purposes’ following the attack on the PlayStation Network.”

Editors' Recommendations

Graeme McMillan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A transplant from the west coast of Scotland to the west coast of America, Graeme is a freelance writer with a taste for pop…
Does PlayStation 5 have a web browser?
Playstation 5 with a controller.

Sony added a bunch of great functionality to PS5, but one thing that's missing is a web browser. Unlike its predecessor, PS4, there's not a standard web browser you can access from your home screen. That's a bit of a letdown, as it feels like a huge step back from what was available years ago.

Thankfully, all is not lost. With a little elbow grease and a lot of ingenuity, you can access a web browser on PS5. The process is quite convoluted, and it's not the most user-friendly browser, but it's possible to surf the web on your fancy new-gen console.

Read more
PlayStation Portal restocks — Can you buy the console today?
A PlayStation Portal plays Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

The PlayStation Portal continues to be in huge demand meaning stock is as hard to come by as the PS5 was three years ago. Right now, no major retailers have stock online but that doesn't mean that couldn't change in a moment. With stock coming and going fast, it's a good idea to keep an eye on certain retailers to see when things change for the better.

The PlayStation Portable allows you to connect to your PlayStation 5 via Remote Play over Wi-Fi, so it’s perfect for portable gaming whether you’re traveling or simply sitting on the couch with the family, away from your beloved console. Since the PlayStation Portal launched, it’s been tough to find stock. Much like how hard it was to find the PlayStation 5 once upon a time, the PlayStation Portal is tricky to track down. That’s where we’re here to help with some insight on where to look, as well as what to consider for a PlayStation Portal alternative if you just can’t wait.
Where can I buy the PlayStation Portal?
As of March 8, no major retailers have stock of the PlayStation Portal. This could change though so it's important to have a list ready of all the major retailers that are likely to get more stock. We can't guarantee when that will be as this is an incredibly highly sought-after item but you can be assured that restocks will happen eventually. Here are all the retailers you should check out on your quest for a PlayStation Portal.

Read more
You need to try PlayStation VR2’s most psychedelic game yet
Key art for Akka Arrh shows psychedelic images.

You know that it's a busy year for gaming when a project by an industry legend launches with hardly any fanfare. That's exactly what happened in February 2023 with Akka Arrh. Created by Jeff Minter and his eccentric studio Llamasoft, the neon-tinted shooter is a remake of a 1982 Atari game that never saw the light of day after being deemed too difficult. Minter got the greenlight to revive the project, bringing it to life as a retro arcade shooter built in his unmistakable style.

While the project was exciting for game historians, it didn't exactly crack into the mainstream (it only has 37 user reviews on Steam). Thankfully, Akka Arrh getting a second chance to shine this week as its new PlayStation 5 version adds PlayStation VR2 support. While that might not be enough to make it a commercial hit, it does give PSVR2 owners a good reason to dust off their headset and check out a delightfully oddball project from one of gaming's true visionaries.
It's a trip
Akka Arrh is the rare example of a game that might be easier to explain on paper than in practice. In this throwback arcade shooter, players control a stationary ship that's tasked with protecting pods from attacking aliens. To fend off foes, players drop bombs that blow up in a different geometric pattern on each level's map. Every time an enemy touches that blast radius, it blows up in the same pattern, chaining to other enemies. The goal is to keep an uninterrupted chain going as long as possible by using a limited number of bullets to knock out foes that can't be destroyed by bombs and grabbing power-ups by hovering the cursor over them.

Read more