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Sony: Hackers will cost company over $170 million

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The impact of the hacker incident.

No one is more eager than Sony to put the recent cyberattacks on the PlayStation Network behind them. Unfortunately, there are
still some hurdles to clear.

The electronics giant issued an earnings warning Monday, noting that early estimates on the cost of the PlayStation Network breach have
hit about $172 million. And that figure could increase in the months to come.

The hack was expensive, but it was just a drop in the bucket
compared to the losses that went hand-in-hand with the massive earthquake and
tsunami in Japan. Sony says overall, it expects to post a $3.2 billion loss this fiscal year,
largely due to the natural disaster.

Things are starting to look up, though, on the PlayStation
front. In a note to its developer partners, Sony said it was hoping to reopen
the PlayStation Store
on May 24. If it succeeds, that will fully bring the
PSN back online for the first time since it was shut down on April 20, when the
company discovered a hacker had stolen personal data from 77 million user
accounts. (It later discovered another 25 million Sony Online Entertainment
accounts had also been breached.)

"We thank you for your patience as we work to resume
service of the PlayStation Store," wrote PSN content manager Jack Osorno
to developer partners.

The company also said it plans to offer two pushes of new
content per week for two weeks, allowing it to clear its backlog of content.
That will let players catch up on expansion packs that players on other
consoles are already enjoying as well as original, exclusive PSN content. A
Sony spokesman refused to confirm the relaunch date publicly.

The relauch of the store will bring customers one step
closer to claiming their "Welcome Back" package, which will let them download two free games from a selection that includes Dead Nation, Infamous, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD and Wipeout HD.

Unfortunately, while Sony's ready to return to normalcy, it
would appear that the hacker community isn't quite ready to do the same. The
PlayStation Network hasn't been touched since its relaunch, but the company has
been the victim of other cyber attacks.

Late last week, hackers stole virtual currency from a Sony-operated internet service provider So-Net. And over the weekend, antivirus and security firm F-Secure said it had found a "live" phishing site that was active on Sony servers in Thailand,
targeting an Italian credit card company.

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