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By 4 May 2011 | Categories: news

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Sony has been under tremendous pressure over the past few weeks, with both its major gaming arms being infiltrated by hackers at the same time. The PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment was hacked, exposing the private information of some 77 million PSN users and 24 million SOE users.

And while Sony engineers are undoubtedly fighting fires at every turn, it's now the turn of the company's legal department to help keep the boat afloat, as a number of disgruntled Sony customers have proceeded to file lawsuits against the company for damages exceeding a billion dollars.

According to vgsynergy, the most serious case has been brought forward by a Toronto law firm known as McPhadden Samac Tuovi. The firm has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the Japanese manufacturer, “for the breach of privacy.” The firm is claiming damages in excess of $1 billion, and if successful will see Sony paying the costs of credit monitoring services and fraud insurance for two years.

The plaintiff in the case is 21-year-old PlayStation user Natasha Maksimovic, and her justification for claiming billion dollar damages is, “If you can't trust a huge multi-national corporation like Sony to protect your private information, who can you trust? It appears to me that Sony focuses more on protecting its games than its PlayStation users.”

Yet another suit has also been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, this time by 36-year-old Kristopher Johns from Alabama. He accuses Sony of, “not taking reasonable care to protect, encrypt, and secure the private and sensitive data of its users.”

He also blames Sony for taking too long to notify customers of the security breach so that they could, “make an informed decision as to whether to change credit card numbers, close the exposed accounts, check their credit reports, or take mitigating actions.”

It's clear that Sony is facing an uphill battle both in the courtroom and in the server room, with both the PlayStation Network and SOE still offline at the time of writing. The company has already outline a number of goodwill packages to compensate gamers, including all members receiving PlayStation Plus membership for a month for absolutely free.

Time will also tell whether the attacks were simply aimed at taking Sony offline, or if they actually had financial motivations. While bank details were leaked there have as of yet been no reported instances of money actually being pilfered from any account.

The attacks are suspected to be linked to Sony’s lawsuit last month against PS3 rootkey hacker George ‘Geohot’ Hotz, a suit which Sony won, resulting in the hacker having to turn in all his equipment and being banned from purchasing Sony products in the future.

According to VG247, shares in Sony have dropped by 8% over the past week amid calls for the company’s CEO Howard Stringer to stand down.

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