Sony Starts Probe as Hacking Stops Gaming for 75 Million Playstation Users

Sony Corp. (6758), the world’s second- largest maker of video-game players, is investigating whether data on 75 million users were accessed after an attack on its PlayStation Network and Qriocity online service.

Sony won’t resume the services, which have been suspended since last week, until it learns the “full details of what happened and what caused the trouble,” Satoshi Fukuoka, a Tokyo-based company spokesman, said by telephone today. The company is strengthening the network’s security and has no estimate for when services will resume, Fukuoka said.

The disruption, which occurred at about 1 p.m. Tokyo time on April 21, has deprived users from logging on the network to play games and watch films. Qriocity, which provides movies or music in 11 nations on Web-connected Bravia televisions and Blu- ray players, was also halted after an “external intrusion” affected operations, Tokyo-based Sony said.

“This is not something they can afford to have recurring,” said Jay Defibaugh, an analyst at MF Global FXA Securities in Tokyo. “This is an opportunity to rebuild the system.”

Sony fell 2.1 percent to 2,415 yen at the 3 p.m. close of Tokyo trading, extending its loss to 17 percent this year. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average retreated 1.2 percent today.

Anonymous Target

Separately, Sony was singled out in a statement by a group of hacker-activists known as Anonymous after the company sued George Hotz for posting online information about how to install alternative operating systems for the PlayStation 3 game console. The group issued a separate statement denying responsibility for the PlayStation Network disruption, while saying some of its members might be behind it.

Hackers previously also targeted Sony along with companies including Google Inc., Walt Disney Co., and Johnson & Johnson, according to confidential e-mail discussing the subsequent investigation.

“The hacker community has been unhappy with Sony for locking down the PS3 and being pretty aggressive in protecting its content,” Defibaugh said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net; Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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