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PSN Security Breach Could Cost Sony Billions

by Jeff Marchiafava on Apr 27, 2011 at 08:55 AM

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It's been a rough week for Sony, as the company has been scrambling to detect the source and extent of the security breach recently caused by hackers. While Sony's current focus is to fix its security hole and get PSN back online, questions are now being raised about the financial cost of the leak, which could be in the billions of dollars.

The scope of the breach is potentially staggering, considering the fact that PlayStation Network has roughly 77 million user accounts. There are too many variables to put a concrete price on the mess-up, but data-security research firm, the Ponemon Institute states that the average data breach costs a company $318 per compromised user.

While simply applying that average to the total number of accounts (which would result in a $24 billion price tag) wouldn't take into consideration duplicate accounts or which users have credit card information linked to their account, Ponemon's figure is comprised from much more than a simple headcount, including costs associated with detecting and fixing the problem, notifying and aiding affected consumers, loss of clientele, and decrease of potential future users. We won't know for some time how these issues play out for Sony, but whatever solution the company comes up with, it won't be cheap.

[Source: Forbes, via GameSpot]