ran high in a conference call with
Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) chief executive Sir
Howard Stringer. In recent months, following a series of attacks, the
company’s stock has plunged 16 percent. During the call, Mr. Stringer
faced cries for his resignation and defended his company's behavior.
Sony lost over 100 million user records in the attacks. Sony has stated
that it expects to pay around ¥14B (about $172M USD) for the breach, or
about $2 per record lost. That is a tremendously unrealistic figure given
that the 2010 average for such breaches from large corporations was $318M USD.
Indeed, Sony has already been hit by multiple
class action lawsuits in the U.S. alone. The most recent suit
alleges that Sony laid off employees in the unit responsible for securing the
PlayStation Network (PSN) just weeks before the breach. Sony is accused
of spending lavishly to protect its corporate networks, but maintaining little
protections for its consumers' data.
Several prominent investors have called on Mr. Stringer to step down, as they
say his tactics landed the company in this mess.
Mr. Stringer in the conference call to investors dodged these demands and
shifted blame to the hackers, stating, "We believe that we first became
the subject of attack because we tried to protect our IP (intellectual
property), our content, in this case videogames."
He adds, "I think you see that cyber terrorism is now a global force,
affecting many more companies than just Sony. If hackers can hack Citibank, the
FBI and the CIA, and yesterday the video game company Electronics Arts, then
it's a negative situation that governments may have to resolve."
Sony has a long history of resorting to questionable tactics in the name of
intellectual property "protection".
Back in 2005, the company installed root
kits on users' computers via music CDs. The botched copy
protection effort allowed malicious hackers to infect unwitting users'
machines. As a result the company was forced to pay major damages in a
successful class action lawsuit.
Likewise, Sony initially promoted Linux for the PlayStation 3, only to reverse
position and turn its back on Linux PS3 users. It could have merely cut
support, but instead it actively tried to lock users with
internet-connected consoles out of Linux, citing supposed "security
And when hardware hacker George "GeoHot" Hotz posted
information to restore support (via jailbreaking the console) Sony
harassed him in U.S. court, abusing questionable judicial decision to invade
the young man's privacy. Worse yet, its ongoing legal harassment
efforts look likely to land a young German in jail for bankruptcy, thanks to
the costs of his legal battle with Sony. Not intimidated, the German
hardware expert says Sony
will have to "kill" him to silence him.
Sony has taken a brazen stance towards would be attackers. A spokesperson
for Sony Pictures spokesperson recently contacted DailyTech claiming LulzSec had posted
misleading information about the number of customers exposed in a recent
hack, essentially calling the hackers liars. Faced with negative feedback
that our story generated, the Sony Pictures spokesperson later contacted us in
hopes that we might take down the story. We refused to do so, though we
agreed to obfuscate the spokesperson's identity to prevent them against
In the conference call, Mr. Stringer refused to acknowledge the calls for his
resignation. However, in previous remarks he has stated that Kazuo
Hirai, 50, hired in April to be second-in-command at Sony, is in "pole
position" to take over from him at an unspecified time.
Mr. Stringer says roughly 90 percent of PSN subscribers returned post-breach,
though a number of customers remain angry.
quote: Troll much?
quote: Typical corporate fat cat hiding behind a trendy buzzword to deflect attention from his own failures.
quote: To those whining that Sony didn't deserve to be hacked, they totally did.
quote: So the girl deserved to be raped because she was scantilly clad. She was asking for it.
quote: whereas the other hackers stole customer data which could be considered terrorists
quote: Nobody "deserves" to have it happen, no matter what your OPINION of their policies are.