Sony defends response time to hacker breach

Tue May 17, 2011 5:48pm EDT
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By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sony Corp's CEO was unapologetic about the company's delay in informing the more than 100 million customers of its PlayStation Network whose account information was stolen by hackers last month.

In a stark departure from the remorseful tone struck just two weeks ago, when senior executives including heir apparent Kazuo Hirai bowed in apology in Tokyo, Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer fired back at critics who say the company was too slow to notify consumers once the attack was known.

"This was an unprecedented situation," Stringer told reporters on Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time since the April breach.

"Most of these breaches go unreported by companies. Forty-three percent (of companies) notify victims within a month. We reported in a week. You're telling me my week wasn't fast enough?"

The attack, considered the biggest in Internet history, prompted the Japanese electronics giant to shut down its PlayStation Network and other services for close to a month.

Critics slammed the company for waiting up to a week before telling its customers of the attack and the possible theft of credit card information, prompting lawmakers and state attorneys general to launch investigations.

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Sony on Tuesday, urging it to respond to questions about its security strategy and reveal more details about the data breach.

In the letter, Representatives Mary Bono Mack of California and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina said they had contacted Sony on April 29 but all of their questions had not been answered by the company. The lawmakers asked Sony to respond to questions by May 25.   Continued...