Game chief says PlayStation hacking investigation continues

A probe into the massive hacking of Sony’s PlayStation online vidgame service and Qriocity streaming vid and music service has not uncovered evidence of theft of customer credit card info, Sony game chief Kazuo Hirai said on Sunday.

He added, however, that theft “could not be ruled out.”

From April 17-19, the as-yet unidentified hacker stole info on about 77 million accounts for the two services worldwide from Sony’s San Diego servers, including 10 million with credit card info. Sony shut down the services on April 20, but didn’t inform users of the full extent of the breach for another week.

Hirai said Sony planned this week to restart most services, beginning with online games for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation portable, with tougher security measures in place. It will allow users to access PlayStation Plus for 30 days free of charge as well as give them free downloads. Subs to the Music Unlimited service will also get a free ride for 30 days.

He did not put a number on any revenue loss from the breach.

Sony will appoint a chief information security officer, who will be in charge of plugging security holes. The company has also asked for help from the FBI in identifying the attacker, Hirai said.

Hirai, the company’s No. 2 exec, is the leading candidate to succeed current topper Howard Stringer. The hacking crisis under his watch as head of Sony’s game division is a test of his mettle that likely will determine his future with the company.

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