The Real Cost Of Sony PlayStation Network Debacle. Anatomy Of The Most Significant Digital Theft In History [INFOGRAPHIC]

Sony’s recent data breach could cost the company as much as $24.5 billion according to a new infographic put together by PromotionalCodes.

Now Sony is beginning to bring parts of its much talked about PSN and Qriocity services back online, analysts and tech pundits alike are beginning to attempt to count the cost of such an extended downtime as well as the actual cost of putting in the new security systems so obviously needed in order to prevent another attack managing to bring down a service that plays host to over 77 million users and their private details.

The whole palaver began way back on April 19th when Sony discovered that a few PlayStation Network servers had rebooted themselves for no apparent reason. After some research and, we assume much panic, Sony took the unpleasant decision to pull its entire multiplayer network and online store off the internet the next day. The plan was to bring everything back online once the issue was resolved. That took much, much longer than any of us expected.

April 27th saw the first lawsuit roll in 7 days after Sony had discovered personal information including credit card details had potentially been lifted from its Swiss cheese-like servers. Kristopher Johns of Birmingham, Alabama accused the Japanese company of not taking ‘reasonable care to protect, encrypt and secure the private and sensitive data of its users’.

May 2nd brought the admission that Sony Online Entertainment’s servers had also been accessed with a further 25 million accounts thought to be at risk of having their personal information and credit card details stolen. Just two days later the second lawsuit to hit Sony was filed with a claim for damages in excess of $1 billion adding to an already increasingly difficult situation for the company.

Thankfully things started to turn around from that point on, with Sony beginning to restore network connectivity to the world’s collection of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable machines. Japanese PSN fans will have to wait a little longer though, with Sony not being allowed to flip the switch until the country is assured that new security measures put into place are adequate.

Beyond the monetary cost though, Sony must fear its brand as a whole has been dealt a massive blow by the hacking of its servers. With mainstream media picking up the story worldwide the PlayStation, and indeed Sony brand has been pilloried for weeks. Can Sony respond with a strong showing from here on out?

Perhaps a strong lineup at the not-too-distant E3 expo could refocus the eyes of the industry onto the games, especially with Sony’s PSP replacement, the NGP due later this year.

All eyes on Sony’s sales figures this time next year.

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