Sony to Complete Restoration of Online Services This Week
Sony Corp. (6758) will resume full PlayStation Network services in Japan this week, completing the final stretch of the company’s 2 1/2 month restoration of its online operations after they were attacked by hackers.
The maker of the PlayStation 3 game consoles will bring back online purchases of game content and video on demand from the PlayStation Network and Qriocity in Japan starting July 6, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement today.
The attack on Sony’s data centers in San Diego compromised more than 100 million customer accounts, the second-largest online data breach in U.S. history, and will cost an estimated 14 billion yen ($173 million) for the company this fiscal year. Chairman Howard Stringer told shareholders last week the services will continue to be a main source of growth.
“Sony will probably go back to its way to expand the businesses after fixing the vulnerabilities,” said Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Investors have high expectation for Sony’s online businesses.”
Sony, Japan’s biggest exporter of electronics, rose 0.3 percent to close at 2,132 yen in Tokyo trading today. They have lost 27 percent this year, compared with a 2.6 percent decline in the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.
As many as 90 percent of PlayStation Network users have come back after services were restored in the U.S. and Europe in June, Stringer said in Tokyo last week.
Stringer had earlier apologized and offered U.S. users of its PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services a year of free identity-theft protection after the system was crippled.
The company boosted security by increasing the number of firewalls between servers and adding software to monitor intrusions and system vulnerabilities before resuming the online entertainment services, it said in May. Sony also appointed Fumiaki Sakai to the newly created post of chief information security officer.
The electronics maker was told by the Japanese government in May to carry out preventive measures against data breaches, ease customer concerns over misuse of their credit cards and share more information among affiliates.
After the April attack, Sony struggled to keep up with the barrage of cyber attacks stealing customer information and halting some of its online services. The company faced smaller intrusions in May including a breach at online-service unit So- net Entertainment Corp. that led to the misuse of user names and passwords of 128 customers. Sony also shut web pages that were targeted in Greece, Canada, Thailand and Indonesia.
Sony is working with authorities including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify the intruders, the company has said. The search for suspects in the mid-April cyber attack is continuing, Mami Imada, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman, said today.
The attack in April was launched through a server rented from Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud-computing service, a person with knowledge of the matter said in May. The account was shut and Amazon’s servers weren’t compromised, the person had said.
Sony said in May revenue from the online business rose to 55 billion yen in the 12 months ended March 31 from 36 billion yen in the year-earlier period, according to Imada. The company aims to double that revenue in the current fiscal year, she said.
That’s less than 1 percent of the company’s annual revenue of 7.18 trillion yen for the fiscal year 2010. Sony is targeting over 300 billion yen ($3.4 billion) in revenue from online services in the year ending March 2013.
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