Legal Risks of Social Media Sony (Playstation) – Week 5

Lately the gaming industry has taken a “BOOM” to social media. With the increase of population around the world, more consoles and games are being developed and sold rapidly. As these increase, companies are looking at ways to improve the gaming experience to further increase their revenue. To do this these companies have implemented web 2.0 technologies within their gaming consoles.

Most of you may own a Playstation 3, I own one myself and love it! Well by now you should know that Sony’s Playstation 3 is amongstthe top selling gaming consoles of all time do I also need to mention the new Playstation Vita? The console has loads of processing and graphics power along with tonnes of games for all ages. Sony has implemented many social media techniques to drive their sales through the roof. Below area list of techniques which they have implemented over time.

  • Game Trophies (through Facebook)
  • Live Chat (In-Game)
  • Playstation Network (PSN)
What is PSN you may ask? for you people who do not know, PSN is a network which is used to access online content, access the playstation store and amongst other things.
Sony had to develop and implement the Playstation Network in order to accomplish their goals of driving sales through the roof. Potential buyers of the console who wish to play games with live chat, share their gaming trophies, access the online Playstation Store would have to sign up to the Playstation Network. This means that personal data had to be entered in, data such as name, address, date of birth, email, phone number and credit card details. Once this stage was accomplished, the user can then take advantage of the social media for gaming.

This may sound AWESOME and UNREAL the thought of playing first person shooters (multiplayer) and to chat to one another during game play is unthinkable, you got to love it!! Okay so there are major legal risks involved with the implementation of the PSN. Risks such as security, loss of data, data confidentiality and privacy breaches.

These risks are relevant because private information of customers would be stored on their account within a database, these databases hold all of the accounts, over 20 million PSN accounts have been registered, meaning that there are 20 million users, 20 million credit cards. What if Sony’s security was breached? all or most of the accounts would have been accessed and personal information would have been obtained. Credit card details would have been taken and possibly used, we all know credit card fraud is a major issue, but with personal information as well then identity fraud would be possible as well. What would happen after this? Sony’s reputation and brand name would be decreased and damages plus, they would have to plan and implement a new type of security which would cost millions and also be slapped with millions of lawsuits. This in return would cost them Billions of dollars.

Do I need to mention that there is no PERFECT security? where ever there is a type of security in place, people will try as long as it takes to “break” and “crack” it. When this happens personal data is obtained and used and the company is in one long ride to resolve the issue. That is why security must be kept up to date and changes must be made.

Sony’s PSN security was breached earlier this year, with Millions of accounts accessed. Amongst those millions, 700,000 accounts from Australia were breached. Personal data and credit cards where accessed. Sony notified the world about this breach and had to shut down the network to re-develop and re-implement their security to protect customers of future privacy breaches. This in terms did cost them millions and they had to implement the following according to

  • Enhanced levels of data protection and encryption
  • Enhanced ability to detect software intrusions
  • Unauthorised access and unusual activity patterns
  • Implement additional firewalls
  • Establishment of a new data center in an undisclosed location with increased security
Below is a video to briefly summarise the security issues of PS# and the breached PSN. Please comment and subscribe


25 responses to “Legal Risks of Social Media Sony (Playstation) – Week 5

  1. Very Informative post vydam! I hadn’t actually heard of PSN myself; it’s insane to think 20 million users were exposed to that type of security breach!! I’ve had my credit card security compromised in the past from a similar type of online community, so i know all too well the effects…

    • Thanks Brett, 20 million users were registered in 2009, so that figure surely has increased. It is such a hassle when this happens, to cancel your cards and get them re-issued etc. Thats why security is so important for these online communities. It is better for the company to invest in security because the cost of security will outweigh the cost of the damages caused.

  2. Hi that is a really good post,I did not have idea about how to post this week blog,after I read through of yours ,I got a brief idea how it is going .I am really interested in that security issue,since i met this situation too many times,and I am always worried about my privacy.I do believe that if those organization can follow that 5 steps,this worrying context would make people more comfortable.

    • I am also really paranoid about my personal details and credit cards, if a website looks dodgy i would be hesitant to use my card or enter in any details. I pay my phone bill online and one option is to save my credit card details on it….. I don’t think i will do that hahaha

  3. I remember the play station problems; I had no idea that the databases hold 20 million accounts. I thought it was much less, sadly I don’t think that this will be the end of breaches in corporate databases.

  4. Hey Vy. Good article. I know someone who did have a PS3 and entered their details in the PSN (as what you mentioned) and of course, Sony’s security was breached earlier this year. He couldn’t do anything at that time – just hoped that those who breached the company did not interfere with his account and misuse his personal details. But even so, after the event – his details are still up there. I guess this ‘easiness’ of not having to re enter your detail each time you would like to purchase something from the store overrides the issue of security.

    • Yea I also had my details stores on the PSN, they shut down the server and fixed it. upon reopening the server they made it compulsory for you to log onto your account (as usual) and then requesting that you change the password. This had to be done before you can proceed any further.

  5. And i thought hacking of the PS3 was only limited to the cracking of blue ray games. But i makes sense that if they can hack the hardware, surely PSN even more vulnerable. I think the implications are huge especially those who play online very often via the console or purchase digital goods off their games via PSN on the console. Thanks for sharing and i really enjoyed your post since it involves my hobby. 🙂

    • Thanks angjer, it cost Sony millions to implement the new security as they had to even “move” the location of the data centre. They also gave all users free games and a yearly subscription of the new security.

      We should all be cautious on purchasing online digital goods not just on the playstation 🙂

  6. Great post!
    “there is no PERFECT security”, I agree with you.
    Those company which hold a lot of customers’ personal detials should try their best to ensure the security. Otherwise, customers will lose the trust of the company. Once lost the trust, is difficult to recover.

    • Thanks Zhang, loosing customers takes a whole chunk out of profits and also decreases reputation. We all know how big Sony is, to take a hit like that….I feel sorry for them.

  7. What a great post! I completely didn’t even think about the PSN when I was researching for the latest blog post. When I saw this, I was like OF COURSE!! I own a PS3 and I remember what a huge deal the breach was. It caused SO many problems and the PSN actually went down for a few months. When it returned, they tried to save their reputation with their current customers by giving them free games. I think even now they haven’t fully recovered.

    • HI Kim, Thanks for taking the time to read my post. When I saw this weeks topic I immediately thought about PSN. I own one as well and was very disappointed that Sony shut it down for a good few months. I was amazed in what they did to fix this problem one thing they did was relocating the data warehouse. This security breached cost Sony millions, I don’t think that they have fully recovered yet because they had to gain their reputation back by giving consumers free games. As I remember there were a couple of lawsuits slapped against them from users in America.

  8. Your introduction of PS3 recalls my impulse to buy one 8) . You’re right, for online community the privacy breaches are kind of potential and permenant risks, especially the credit card security. That’s why I don’t like shopping online. Great post!

    • Yes shopping online is risky especially for new shoppers who don’t check if the site is legitimate and protected for instance https:// means that the site is trusted and secured, Usually if i do not see https:// I would not dare near it (just incase) but if its to pay bills then I’m ok with it shah

  9. I think a major aspect of this case was the fact Sony waited a week before notifying their consumers and this wait compounded the damage done to their reputation through the initial breach. Have they implemented any new policies that address how they will handle security breaches in the future?

  10. Nice analysis! I think what compounds Sony’s reputation and security problems is their lack of openness in the damage control process. No amount of free games can make up for storing customer details in plaintext, and as far as I know Sony has still not apologised for doing this. This is security 101 stuff.

    • Thats right Rob, their reputation decreased when the system was hacked. It decreased further when they hid it from consumers for a week or so. Trying to make it up for consumers with free games is not enough, those games would probably cost $12 or so. Looks like this took a whole chunk out of their revenue. Good thing they updated the policies and did some major reconstruction on the security side of PSN. But will we trust them this time?

  11. Hi vydam, this is an excellent post. Correct me if i am wrong, PSN security was indeed breached earlier this year but the fact that they leaks out information such as customer names, birthdates, addresses, user names, and passwords was true, But the credit card information are being encrypted therefore not leaked out to hackers so its probably not a major security breached. Do you agree with me?

  12. Excellent post Vy. You raise some important points and I’m pleased with your in depth analysis of the security risks inherent with this type of system. You used a variety of different references which is impressive. Have you considered noting your references in hot links/text instead of the full URL? I think I’ll just stick to getting an Xbox! :-p

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