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Video games have been a godsend during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing those “staying at home” with diversion and a chance at safe social interaction (Animal Crossing, anyone?). It’s worth remembering, however, that even the big guys in digital gaming and entertainment are vulnerable to cyberattack. Remember the PlayStation Network outage of April 2011, which turned out to be the PlayStation Network hack of April 2011?

On April 20, 2011, Sony shut down its PlayStation Network with a simple statement: “We’re aware certain functions of PlayStation Network are down. We will report back here as soon as we can with more information.” Two days later, Sony admitted the outage was due to “external intrusions.” Network users received another update the next day: “Our efforts to resolve this matter involve rebuilding our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure.”

Sony reveals damaging cyberattack

It wasn’t until April 26 that Sony publicly admitted what everyone had already deduced from its euphemistically worded statements: The network had been hacked. A boatload of unencrypted personal data had been stolen: names, address, birthdates, login credentials, and purchase histories. Sony sent the standard message to users about changing credentials and access free credit monitoring services.

The incident — the work of an Anonymous splinter group — cost Sony an estimated $171 million pre-class action lawsuit, as well as took its 77 million-gamer network down for about three weeks. The 2014 class action lawsuit was settled for $15 million.

Photo: Joeri Mostmans / Shutterstock

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Kate Johanns

Posted by Kate Johanns

Kate Johanns is a communications professional and freelance writer with more than 13 years of experience in publishing and marketing.

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