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Sony vows to appeal ICO's £250k fine over PSN hack

A UK watchdog has landed the Japanese gaming giant with a bill, saying the disastrous hack "could have been prevented".

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

Sony has been landed with a hefty British bill over the disastrous PSN hack of April 2011, as a watchdog rules the Japanese gaming giant was in breach of the Data Protection Act. Sony isn't happy with the verdict however, and has vowed to appeal.

Slamming Sony's security measures, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that the hack, which saw over 70 million gamers' account information nicked, "could have been prevented", the BBC reports.

The watchdog says Sony didn't do enough to secure its customers' data. "When the database was targeted," the ICO's David Smith said, "albeit in a determined criminal attack -- the security measures in place were simply not good enough."

"There is no doubt in my mind that they had access to both the technical knowledge and the resources to keep this information safe," Smith added.

The attack left Sony's PlayStation Network offline for nearly a month. When it came back online, Sony offered free games and a selection of other goodies as compensation -- though CNET UK readers weren't impressed by Sony's olive-branch efforts.

I asked Sony for comment and was told that the firm plans to fight the ICO's verdict.

"Sony Computer Entertainment Europe strongly disagrees with the ICO’s ruling and is planning an appeal," the gaming giant said.

"Criminal attacks on electronic networks are a real and growing aspect of 21st century life," the TV and console-maker continues, "and Sony continually works to strengthen our systems, building in multiple layers of defence and working to make our networks safe, secure and resilient.

"The reliability of our network services and the security of our consumers' information are of the utmost importance to us," Sony says, "and we are appreciative that our network services are used by even more people around the world today than at the time of the criminal attack."

£250,000 is a drop in the ocean for a company as massive and wealthy as Sony, so I suspect fighting the ruling is more about trying to preserve the company's reputation. Do you think Sony is a victim in the PSN hack saga, or should it have done more to protect gamers' data? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.