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Sony brings in hired help for network breach clean-up

Video game giant hires security firms following theft of 100 million users’ personal data

Sony brings in hired help for network breach clean-up
Security firms will investigate the Sony breach alongside the FBI

Sony Online Entertainment, whose gaming network last month suffered an unprecedented security breach, has hired a trio of digital forensics specialists in a bid to catch those responsible and stave off a US$1 billion law suit.

The breach, which occurred in April, targeted Sony's PlayStation Network platform, and saw hackers plunder a bounty of personal data, which included some users' credit and debit card details.

Sony now faces a $1 billion law suit filed by a 21-year-old Natasha Maksimovic, an online gamer in Canada, who accuses the gaming and electronics company of breach of privacy.

In response, Tokyo-based Sony has hired the services of computer forensics specialist Data Forte, cyber security firm Guidance Software, and risk assessment consultant Proviti.

Data Forte's previous clients include Mattel, the US-based maker of Barbie toys, as well as large, unnamed motion picture and aerospace companies.

The three security companies will assist Sony in protecting its networks from future risks, while working alongside law enforcement agencies and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify those behind the massive breach.

According to statistics published by Sony this week, credit or debit card data tied to approximately 12,700 non-US PlayStation Network users, mostly in Japan and the UK, was stolen from a database dating back to 2007. Out of this figure, 900 of these cards were still active.

A spokesperson representing Sony confirmed to ITP.net that no payments data belonging to Middle East users had been compromised during the network.

At the time of writing, Sony's PlayStation Network service was still offline, although the company says this will be remedied soon. By way of compensation, Sony is offering gamers 30 days of additional time on their subscriptions, in addition to compensating them one day for each day the system is down.

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