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Friday, May 06, 2011
Sony CEO Apologizes For Data Breach, Details Identity Theft Protection Program

Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer apologized for "inconvenience and concern" caused by the security breach that compromised personal data from more than 100 million online gaming accounts.

Sony CEO said sought to reassure customers, saying the company is focused on investigating and fixing the hacker attack.

"Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we?ve all experienced and on fixing it. We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less," he said in a blog post late Thursday.

Mr. Stringer added that to date, there is no confirmed evidence any credit card or personal information has been misused.He also talked about Sony's plans to help protect the company's customers from identity theft around the world. A program for U.S. PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers that includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user was launched earlier today. The 'identity theft protection program' is currently valid for PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders in the United States only and it will be also applied to other countries/territories soon, Sony said..

Specifically, Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment International have made arrangements with Debix, Inc. to offer AllClear ID Plus at no cost to PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders for 12 months from the time an account holder registers for the program.

Sony will start sending out activation emails for this program over the next few days, and users will have until June 18th to sign-up and redeem their code. Users will need to sign up directly through AllClearID, not on Sony?s websites, and details, including step-by-step instructions for the program, will be emailed to United States PSN and Qriocity Account holders soon.

The program includes:

- Cyber monitoring and surveillance of the Internet to detect exposure of an AllClear ID Plus customer?s personal information, including monitoring of criminal web sites and data recovered by law enforcement. If his/her personal information is found, the customer will be alerted by phone and/or email and will be provided advice and support regarding protective steps to take. The customer will also receive monthly identity status reports. Debix works with an alliance of cyber-crime experts from the government, academia and industry to provide these services.

- Priority access to licensed private investigators and identity restoration specialists. If an AllClear ID Plus customer receives an alert, or otherwise suspects that he/she may be the victim of identity theft, the customer can speak directly, on a priority basis, with an on-staff licensed private investigator, who will conduct a comprehensive inquiry. In the case of an identity theft, the customer can work with an identity restoration specialist to contact creditors and others, and take necessary steps to restore the customer?s identity.

- A $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user to provide additional protection in the event that an AllClear ID Plus customer becomes a victim of identity theft. This insurance would provide financial relief of up to $1 million for covered identity restoration costs, legal defense expenses, and lost wages that occur within 12 months after the stolen identity event.

Howard Stringer also talked about Sony's "Welcome Back" offering package to its users once the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are up and running. This will include, among other benefits, a month of free PlayStation Plus membership for all PSN customers, as well as an extension of subscriptions for PlayStation Plus and Music Unlimited users to make up for time lost.

Sony has said the attack may have compromised credit card data, email addresses and other personal information from 77 million user accounts. On Monday, it said data from an additional 24.6 million online gaming accounts also may have been stolen.

Sony also signaled in a separate blog post Thursday that service could be restored soon. The company said it is in the "final stages of internal testing of the new system," though did not offer a specific timeline.

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