Sony fined for 2011 PlayStation hacks

The U.K. government hit Sony with a £250,000 fine over the highly publicized PlayStation hacking that took place in 2011, according to the Information Commissioner's Office.

The ICO calls the 2011 hacking, which put the personal information of 77 million customers at risk, a "serious breach of the Data Protection Act." It states hackers accessed customer names, addresses, dates of birth and passwords, while payment card details were left "at risk."

Had Sony's security been up-to-date, reads the ICO report, the attack "could have been prevented."

"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," said David Smith, deputy commissioner and director of data protection. "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."

Last October, a U.S. judge dismissed numerous claims made in a class action lawsuit against Sony regarding the 2011 security breach. The negligence claim, which included claims of unjust enrichment, bailment and violations of California consumer protection statutes, was dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiff attempted to "plead around the contract with SNE [Sony Network Entertainment America], which expressly disclaims any guarantees of uninterrupted service or perfect security."

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