May 18 - Sony shares fall as CEO Howard Stringer brushes aside allegations the company took too long to tell customers their data had been stolen; says most companies do not even disclose breaches. Arnold Gay reports.
Sony shares dropped as much as 1.8 percent Wednesday after CEO Howard Stringer brushed aside allegations the company took too long to tell customers about a data breach. In stark contrast to the remorseful tone struck just two weeks ago, when senior Sony executives bowed in apology in Tokyo, Stringer fired back at critics. In his first public comments on the breach, Stringer called the attack unprecedented, claiming most companies fail to report breaches, and a 40 percent of those who do take 30 days to do so. The cyber attack last month compromised the private data of 100 million account owners, including credit card data, but Sony only informed owners a week after it learned of the breach. The company is only just beginning to restore partial PlayStation network services to customers. The events have prompted lawmakers and state attorneys general to launch investigations. Sony is anticipating losses from the break-in but is still assessing the damage. One expert estimates costs from the breach could reach as high as $2 billion. The crisis is a big test for Stringer's heir apparent Kazuo Hirai, who's been leading recovery operations as president and group chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment. The breach is considered one of the biggest challenges the company has faced in years. Arnold Gay, Reuters.