What will Sony have to pay to deal with Playstation Network cyber attacks?

Sony's Playstation Network has been down for over two weeks now and the MMO servers for its Sony Online Entertainment business have been offline for almost a week. All of this downtime is certainly costing the company a ton of money. But what will the overall cost be for the cyber attacks that forced Sony to shut down these online gaming networks? A new article at Venture Beat tries to figure out how much money Sony will have to pay in relation to these incidents.

Sony has said repeatedly that only a small amount of older overseas credit card numbers found in an old archive server have been exposed in the cyber attacks. However, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter predicts that even if "just" 5,000 credit card accounts are used by the hackers who launched the cyber attack the losses for Sony to pay off those accounts could total $1.6 million. Sony has already announced it will allow its Playstation Network customers in the US to sign up for a fraud protection service.

Another analyst, Mizuho Investors Securities's Nobuo Kurahashi, has predicted that Sony could lose as much as $1.25 billion from the cyber attacks in terms of "lost business, compensation costs, and new investments in security technology." Sony's stock price has already been affected; it's down six percent since the cyber attacks caused Sony to shut down the Playstation Network servers on April 20. Sony still has no firm date on when the servers will come back online. There's also the intangible costs to Sony's reputation to consider. Some gamers, for example, might not come back to the Playstation Network or the MMO games served by Sony Online Entertainment even when full online service is restored.

There's also the matter of Sony possibly offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of whomever launched the cyber attacks. AllThingsDigital, using unnamed sources, said that Sony is thinking about offering a reward but nothing is certain yet.

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