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Sony has taken a public-relations hit lately on it’s success — or lack off – in protecting the personal data of the users of its online sites.
The biggest blow came in April, when Sony confirmed that the PlayStation Network online gaming service it runs had been hacked, exposing the personal account information of its many users. This has been a serious financial blow to Sony: News reports say that Sony has lost more than $170 million because of the hacks at its PlayStation Network and other sites.
In May, though, Sony tried to repair at least some of the damage. The company is now offering customers impacted by the PlayStation hacks free identity theft protection for one year.
Whether this move comes too late to salvage Sony’s reputation remains to be seen.
Under Sony’s arrangement, consumers can sign up for a year’s worth of identity protection from the provider Debix.
Those who own PlayStation Network accounts can sign up for the protection through a link contained in e-mail sent to them from Sony. The protection is available to the owners of PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts.
Users can sign up for Debix’s AllClear ID Plus protection, a service that usually costs $9.95 a month. The service offers live monitoring, which can more easily help them detect possible fraud and identity-protection insurance of up to $1 million in case problems arise.
To take advantage of this free offer, PlayStation Network users had to be residents of the United States and have accounts that were active as of April 20, 2011.
That Sony would take such a big step points to just how dangerous identity theft can be not only to individuals but to the companies that online criminals hack. Sony’s PlayStation Network was a booming online hangout for gamers across the country before hackers struck the site.
What it becomes now remains to be seen. Even with its generous offer, there’s little guarantee that Sony will ever win back the trust of it’s customers again.
And that’s a price that’s impossible to calculate.