Sony Apologizes for PS2 Customer Data Leak

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (03/03/2000) - With only a day left before its new PlayStation 2 goes on sale in Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) has been forced to make an embarrassing apology after personal details of some customers were revealed through a Web site.

SCEI's Japan Inc. unit, which operates a Web site where users can order the game console and associated software, yesterday evening sent an e-mail to registered users apologizing for the problem and explaining the steps the company had taken to put things right.

The company found a problem with its Web site at 5 p.m. Wednesday and had plugged the hole by 5:22 p.m., it said in the e-mail. The names and addresses of some customers as well as details of what they ordered through the site were leaked, but other details, such as credit card numbers, were safe, the company said in the e-mail.

According to reports in Japanese media, users were able to log into the site using their own identification numbers and passwords. Once logged in they were able to gain access to information on other users by typing in their order numbers. The data of 266 customers was obtained in this manner by a total of 44 users, according to a report by the Kyodo News Service.

The site also suffered a four-hour outage on Tuesday as a result of the leap year computer problem, the report added, although Japan failed to acknowledge this problem in its e-mail.

The Web site was launched earlier this month as SCEI's first foray into the world of online commerce and immediately hit the headlines as it failed to keep up with demand. The company designed the site to handle 3,000 users per hour but was swamped by 100,000 users within the first hour, all eager to place a reserve order for the hot new game console. [See "Sony Web Site Crushed by PlayStation 2 Deman," Feb. 18]. Japan, in Tokyo, can be reached via the Web at Sony Computer Entertainment, also in Tokyo, is at

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