* Sony taps Data Forte, Guidance Software, Protiviti
* Mastercard, Visa might have helped pick investigators
(Adds details on the investigations, comment from expert)
By Jim Finkle and Liana B. Baker
BOSTON/NEW YORK, May 3 Sony has hired outside
investigators to help clean its networks and catch the people
behind a massive breach that exposed the personal data of more
than 100 million video game users.
The Japanese electronics giant has retained a team from
privately held Data Forte that is led by a former special agent
with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service to work
alongside the FBI agents, who are also probing the matter.
Sony (6758.T) (SNE.N) said on Tuesday that it has also
brought on cyber-security detectives from Guidance Software
(GUID.O) and consultants from Robert Half International Inc's
(RHI.N) subsidiary Protiviti to help with the clean-up.
Officials with Sony and the three firms did not respond to
requests for information about the investigation. Agents with
the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation have said little about
the matter, except that they are looking into the breach of
data, which might include some credit card numbers.
"It's a significant operation," said David Baker, vice
president of services with electronic security firm IOActive,
which is not involved in the investigation.
He said that card issuers Mastercard (MA.N) and Visa Inc
(V.N) had likely appointed a firm to investigate.
Sony also said that it hired the law firm Baker & McKenzie
to help it with the investigation.
On Monday, Sony said its PC games network had also been
exposed to hackers, in an incident related to the massive
break-in of its separate PlayStation video game network that
led to the theft of data from 77 million user accounts. Sony
revealed that attack last week. [ID:nL3E7G30CH]
The PlayStation network lets video game console owners
download games and play against friends. The Sony Online
Entertainment network, the victim of the latest break-in, hosts
games such as "EverQuest" and "Free Realms," which are played
over the Internet.
Sony said late on Monday that the names, addresses, emails,
birth dates, phone numbers and other information from 24.6
million PC games accounts may have been stolen from its servers
as well as an "outdated database" from 2007.
A Toronto law firm on Tuesday launched a C$1 billion ($1.05
billion) proposed class-action suit against Sony for breach of
privacy, naming a 21-year-old PlayStation user from
Mississauga, Ontario, as lead plaintiff. The damages would
cover the cost of credit monitoring services and fraud
insurance for two years, the firm, McPhadden Samac Tuovi LLP,
said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Frank McGurty in Toronto; Editing by