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Sony CEO says hackers pick on company because of PlayStation protection

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Sony Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer says the Japanese tech giant became a target for hackers over the last few months in retaliation for its protection of the PlayStation's intellectual property, according to a report.

"We believe that we first became the subject of attack because we tried to protect our IP (intellectual property), our content, in this case video games," Stringer said at a Sony shareholder meeting Tuesday in Tokyo, according to Reuters.

Some Sony shareholders called for Stringer to step down in response to the streak of hacking incidents that the company has fallen prey to, Reuters said.

Sony's troubles with Web attacks launched by various groups of hackers date back as far as April and have affected more than 90 million Sony user accounts across the company's online services -- including its PlayStation Network for online video games, the cloud-based Qriocity music service, Sony music websites and Sony Pictures websites.

No specific hacker groups have taken responsibility for the massive attacks on the PlayStation Network and Qriocity, but Sony has pointed a finger at the hacker-activist group Anonymous, which has denied direct involvement. 

Stringer might not be wrong in his assessment of why Sony's become a favorite target for so many hackers.

The company sued George Hotz, a hacker much beloved by his online contemporaries, after Hotz, who goes by the online name of Geohot, cracked through the security software on the Sony PlayStation 3, loaded his own choice of operating system, then shared with the world how to do the same in postings across the Web.

Sony didn't like that and said Hotz's actions opened up the PS3 gaming console to being used for pirated video games. In April, Hotz and Sony settled the suit, and now Hotz, just 21 years old, is an employee of Facebook.

Stringer, in the shareholder meeting, did, however, make clear that he believes Sony's hacker problems are also part of a growing wave of Web attacks in general.

"I think you see that cyber terrorism is now a global force, affecting many more companies than just Sony," he said, according to Reuters. "If hackers can hack Citibank, the FBI and the CIA, and yesterday the video game company Electronics Arts, then it's a negative situation that governments may have to resolve."

RELATED:

Facebook hires George Hotz, famed PlayStation 3 hacker known as Geohot

Sony Pictures says LulzSec hackers broke into 37,500 user accounts, not 1 million

Sony partially blames hacktivist group Anonymous for PlayStation Network data breach

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Sony Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer speaks at the presentation of the AFI Life Achievement Award to actor Morgan Freeman on June 9 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

 
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