Pressure is mounting on Sony’s Welsh-born chief executive Howard Stringer to resign after the consumer electronics giant yesterday revealed a second – and potentially more serious – hacker attack in which invaders breached the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) network, apparently getting away with personal details of a further 24.6 million people round the globe – in some cases possibly including credit- and debit-card details.”The way Sony handled the whole thing goes to show that it lacks the ability to manage crises,” said Michael On, a fund manager at Beyond Asset Management in Taipei. “The current chief executive should step down after the hacker problems and the company’s failure to push out products that are competitive.”
One problem: the most obvious successor, deputy president Kazuo Hirai, is also facing questions about his handling of the affair and Sony’s attitude to security.
Hirai who helped set up the network was one of three Sony executives who bowed deeply in apology over the earlier revelations of the break-in to the PlayStation Network (PSN) and Qriocity streaming music service – Stringer did not show for that event.
The SOE network hosts online games between PCs rather than consoles, which are handled by the PSN. In total, between April 16 and 19 it now appears details of more than 100 million users were stolen from the two networks, both of which remain offline.
San Diego-based Sony Online Entertainment said it had shut down SOE services amid concerns a hacker may have accessed names, birth dates and addresses for its users.
The company said it doesn’t believe credit-card information on those accounts was accessed, but said hackers may have stolen credit-card data for about 12,700 non-US accounts and 10,700 bank-account numbers from an “outdated database from 2007.”
“We had previously believed that Sony Online Entertainment customer data had not been obtained in the cyber-attacks on the company,” Sony told SOE users.
“But, on May 1st we concluded that SOE account information may have been stolen and we are notifying you as soon as possible.”