Sony Corp. USA To own 38% of EMI Music Publishing, No Official Word on Staffing

Sony's Internet security problems continue: The website of Sony Music in Brazil is currently down after being hacked earlier this week. LulzSec, the group that had performed a handful of earlier attacks, claimed it was not behind the attack.

This latest breach follows a string of other incidents that began with an attack on Sony's PlayStation and Qriocity networks and continued with an attack last week at Sony Picture's website that compromised sensitive information of up to 37,500 customers.

On Tuesday Sony suspended its music website in Brazil. At press time, a visitor to www.sonymusic.com.br is greeted with a message that reads, "You are not authorized to view this page." The attack may have altered some of the site's content, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.

LulzSec also claims to be behind the attack on a Sony website in Europe. A June 6 press release at the group's website claims it stole 54MB of "SVN Sony Developer source code" and "internal network maps of Sony BMG" in its fifth and sixth Sony hacks, respectively.

The web site of Sony Pictures was hacked by LulzSec last week. In a press release issued Wednesday, Sony Pictures revealed up to 37,500 customers "may have had some personally identifiable information stolen during the recent attack on sonypictures.com."

These hacker attacks are so brazen and public that digital piracy looks rather benign in comparison. LulzSec both announces upcoming attacks and boasts through Twitter and press releases. Sony's security problems are being reported around the world. And with each additional attack comes more public-relations problems. That might not matter as much for other music or entertainment companies, but Sony is a well-known brand with many consumer-facing products.

Of course, the damage extends far beyond public-relations issues. The costs of security breaches extend to dealing with regulators, consumer lawsuits and additional security (Sony has already offered to pay for a year of identity protection for users of its PlayStation and Qriocity networks). A 2010 study by the Poneman Institute found the cost of a data breach was $204 per person in the U.S., $177 per person in Germany and $98 per person in the U.K. Given those estimates, a large security breach could cost a company anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.

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