Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN Security Breach

June 24, 2011 -

A new lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego on Monday (Cotorreal et al v. Sony Corporation Inc.) alleges that Sony's security breach of Sony Online Entertainment and PlayStation Network were the direct result of layoffs earlier in the month of April. In late April the company laid off around 205 employees from its MMO company SOE, closing down offices in Denver, Seattle and Tucson. These layoffs also affected the company's Network Operations Centre. The complaint alleges that Sony did not mention that any of these employees were part of "network operations" at the time of the layoffs.

The complaint also alleges that Sony rushed to protect data when it first learned of the security breach - but it wasn't user data they were concerned about. The company paid millions to secure sensitive corporate secrets, not offering the same level of action for customer data, the complaint contends.

The complaint cites a "confidential witness" as the source of its insider information, adding that Sony should have known that a major attack was eminent because it had experienced "smaller breaches" prior to the April 20 outage.

Lawyers for the plaintiff hope to have the complaint certified as a class action lawsuit, allowing millions of PSN customers in the United States join in.

Source: Reuters UK by way of Kotaku


Comments

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

Hmmmm, well the not mentioning that people were associated with network operations is probably meaningless. I seriously doubt they were under any obligation to do that (or to publicly disclose layoffs at all).

Proving that the  breach was a direct result of any particular layoffs is going to be extremely difficult. I'll definitely want to read some of the documents when they actually get filed and become available.  Otherwise...I'm not particularly impressed so far.

 

NOTE: Poster is an attorney, I don't practice corporate law though and I don't practice in California. I'm going on general principles here.

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

Sony is a publically traded company, so disclosing mass layoffs is likely required by SEC rules (as it can affect shareholder value/investor confidence), though I have no idea how much detail is needed about the employees to meet requirements. Even if SOE messed up there, though, it would be a regulatory infraction affecting investors, not grounds for a customer class-action suit.

I’m not sure where they are trying to go w/that other than saying that maybe some of the fired people could have prevented the breach, which is a hell of a stretch.

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

I hate lawsuits like this.  If company A fires one person, and that person installs a virus on the network after being fired, then that person is soley to blame for the aftermath.  Think of the consequences of actually winning this lawsuit:  every single person laid off from SOE can then be sued by Sony for all of the damages, because a win would mean there is reasonable evidence to believe the initial claim.

I'm sorry, the criminal is solely responsible for the crime and the aftermath.

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

I wouldn't say solely. If you're setting things up on a major network so that one person can do that damage without getting caught (or even ABLE to do it), you're doing it wrong.

 

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

I'm getting from the article that Sony fired the staff that could have dealt with and maybe prevented the hack-in.  Still, that only makes Sony naive, not to blame.

There is the situation with state and Federal laws regarding the safekeeping of personal information.  I don't know about that, but that sounds like fines, not a class-action.  Let's face it, class-actions are supposed to support an entire group on legitimate complaints, not to blackmail a company into a settlement where the attorney's get millions and the class gets, well, nothing but the "Welcome Back," plan, and "Welcome Back" is more than enough.

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

I've heard of this kind of attack way back when I was going to community college.  All it could be was a very innoccuous file that had some code in it that activated when the employee was taken off of the payroll.  The class I was in explained how the attack works, not how it's made.

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

If it turns out that this was actually a premeditated attack on the part of some disgruntled employees, this could be very interesting indeed.

Re: Sony Faces Possible Class Action Lawsuit over PSN ...

 Now this will be an interesting lawsuit to read.....

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