On April 20, 2011, someone hacked the Sony Playstation Network. They found an opening in the online video gaming network’s password-reset system and penetrated the security protecting its customer database. Days later, the company admitted that the hackers had obtained personal information on 70 million or more subscribers. The hackers got names, physical and e-mail addresses, birth-dates, and other identifying information, and it’s possible that they got credit card numbers. Sony took the network offline to reinforce it, but within days of it coming back online, hackers broke in again.
Playstation Network is a high-profile target with tens of millions of subscribers, making it attractive to criminals. However, even small businesses that do business over the Internet are vulnerable to the same kinds of intrusions. The federal Internet Crime Complaint Center referred more than 146,000 complaints to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in 2009, 22 percent more than the year before. One out of every three of those complaints was for identity theft, credit card fraud and computer fraud. The Ponemon Institute has reported that the average data breach costs businesses $7.2 million.
What could happen to a business’s data? More