Sony Begrudgingly Pays Fine Over PlayStation Data Breach

Sony has decided against fighting the U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) over the PlayStation data breach that left sensitive user information open to hackers in 2011.

The ICO recently reported on its Twitter account that Sony Computer Entertainment Europe "will not be appealing the 250,000-pound penalty" it was leveled with in January over the 2011 PlayStation Network breach that left millions of customer e-mail addresses, account passwords, and dates of birth open to hackers.

The hack, which left Sony no other choice but to take down the PlayStation Network for weeks and face the widespread outcry of gamers around the world, was a black mark on the company's online efforts. Sony profusely apologized over the incident and promised stronger security.

After Sony was hit with the fine in January, the company appealed the ruling. In a statement released over the weekend to V3, a U.K.-based news site, Sony said that it has decided to pay the fine and withdraw its appeal in an effort to protect PlayStation Network's security. Appealing the governing body's ruling would mean that Sony would need to provide information on how it's keeping the service secure -- a prospect that could give hackers the information they need to once again breach its service.

Accepting the ICO's fine might also be Sony's attempt to put the issue behind it as the company prepares to launch its next console, the PlayStation 4. Calling to mind the security woes that occurred during the PlayStation 3's darker days could negatively affect the PlayStation 4's appeal and leave Sony to damage control.

Sony's fine is levied on grounds set forth in the U.K.'s Data Protection Act, a statute that governs the safety and security of sensitive user information.