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Will Sony Brand Survive?

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Last one month has been a nightmarish for Sony, as the company struggles to recover from massive hack attacks on three separate gaming systems it runs. The PlayStation , Qriocity and Sony online gaming networks are still offline. Whopping 77 million customers may have had their personal information stolen. Tens of millions of credit card numbers may have been stolen by hackers.

Sony’s timetable for a fixing the issue has grown longer in the weeks since the security breaches first occurred. Users are by now disappointed and aggravated.

Sony disclosed the first hack on April 22, saying that the security systems of its PlayStation Network and its media streaming service Qriocity was compromised between April 17 and 19. The both services were plugged off on April 20 and remain offline. A week later, Sony announced that personal and financial information, even credit card numbers may have been stolen. The message of the company’s blog stated: “While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility”.

On May 2, things got even worse, as another division, Sony Online Entertainment, took its Web service offline. Apparently, hackers have also gained access to its databases of subscriber information, the company revealed. Sony Online Entertainment makes multilayers games for computers and the PlayStation 3 . According to company statements, personal information from approximately 25 million accounts may have been stolen. Hackers may have also obtained financial information for international users from an outdated database from 2007.

Public opinion is not favorable to Sony, as users are frustrated that the company took so long to warn them about the potential exposure of their credit cards. It took five days from the time the service went down to inform the public about the security breaches, which is a big misstep for the company.

Sony said it took forensic team time to figure out the depths of the “very professional, highly sophisticated” attack.

In terms of branding, the company was right to make sure it had accurate information before it started talking, in order to avoid making an already confusing situation worse. Brands have to prevent the need for retractions on their statements that reach the general public.

Can Sony recover?

Sony’s fate is now tied to what happens to the compromised credit card numbers. If hackers did indeed capture financial information on all 77 million PlayStation Network members, it would be one of the biggest heists in history. If the credit cards were not stolen, Sony will not suffer very long fallout.

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