Wed, May 25, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Sony Web sites hacked, 8,500 Greek accounts hit

‘CURRENTLY KNOWN COSTS’:Sony said recent data breaches would cost it a minimum of US$170 million this financial year in terms of insurance and damages

AFP, TOKYO

Sony yesterday said its Web sites in three countries had been hacked, with 8,500 Greek user accounts compromised, in a blow to efforts to restore confidence after a huge data breach affecting millions.

Web sites in Thailand and Indonesia had also been affected, the company said.

The Japanese entertainment and technology giant said data taken from Greek accounts included e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, names and passwords, but that credit card data had not been stolen in the latest attacks.

Analysts say such breaches threaten to further damage Sony’s brand image and undermine its efforts to link its gadgets to an online “cloud-based” network of games, movies and music that relies on consumer confidence in the company’s security.

Sony said it discovered the security breach on its Greek Sony Music Entertainment Web site on Sunday and immediately stopped the service that allows fans of artists to sign up for newsletters. It remains shut down.

A Sony spokesman said the company had nothing to indicate that leaked information had been posted on other Web sites.

Sony said it also discovered on Saturday that a page on its Indonesian Music Entertainment Web site had been “altered,” but it did not believe this involved the leak of information.

It also said its Thai unit’s Web site had been subjected to unauthorized access and was possibly used in a phishing attack.

“In Thailand, the Sony unit was notified by a Finnish security firm that its Web site was possibly used in a phishing attack. The company stopped the Web site and has been investigating. There has been no report about any information leak,” the company said.

News of the latest breach came as Sony tries to recover from an earlier massive online hacking attack involving the theft of personal data including names, passwords and addresses from more than 100 million accounts on its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment services.

Sony shut down its PlayStation Network and Qriocity music services on April 20.

The company has said it cannot rule out that millions of credit card numbers could have been compromised.

Analysts say one of the biggest data breaches since the advent of the Internet could cost it about US$1 billion.

On Monday, Sony said it expected to post a US$3.2 billion net loss for the fiscal year ending in March as it tries to recover from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which ravaged production and damaged facilities.

The company said the data breach will result in a minimum of US$170 million in “currently known costs” this financial year in terms of insurance and damages, but that it anticipated further costs. Sony has said it plans to fully restore PlayStation Network and Qriocity services by the end of the month.

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