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Sony coughs up £250K ICO fine after security fears

Says it's paying because it doesn't want to leak security secrets

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Sony has begrudgingly abandoned its fight to contest a £250,000 fine handed down by the Information Commissioner’s Office after its massive 2011 PlayStation Network data breach.

The Japanese electronics giant was slapped with the fine back in January for breaching the Data Protection Act after the personal info of millions of Brits – including names, addresses and account passwords – were stolen by hackers who infiltrated its PlayStation Network systems.

Sony has now decided not to fight the fine, despite still strongly opposing it, because of fears the Information Rights Tribunal would have forced it to divulge sensitive details about its network security set-up.

"This decision reflects our commitment to protect the confidentiality of our network security from disclosures in the course of the proceeding,” a Sony spokesman told the BBC.

"We continue to disagree with the decision on the merits."

Back in January, the ICO concluded after an investigation that the breach of around 70 million gamers could have been prevented if Sony had taken best practice security measures such as hashing and salting log-ins and keeping system patches up to date.

Deputy commissioner David Smith said in a statement released at the time:

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 £250,000 fine is one of the biggest ever doled out by the ICO, although it can't top the £375,000 handed down to Brighton and Sussex NHS Trust after patient records were stolen from a hospital and put on eBay. ®

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