LOS ANGELES, April 30 (UPI) -- The hacking of Sony Corp.'s PlayStation Network could cost the Japanese company $1.5 billion, an expert says.
Larry Ponemon, founder of Ponemon Institute, told The Wall Street Journal that total includes the company's investigation as well as deploying employees to assisting people whose data may have been compromised.
About 77 million accounts may have been put at risk. The lawsuits have already started.
"Sony broke its contract and violated its customers' trust," said Caleb Marker, a lawyer seeking class-action status for a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.
The company said the breach occurred between April 15 and April 17. It did not notify users until Tuesday.
That delay has attracted the attention of many state attorneys general. A number of states have laws requiring timely notification of any computer security breach.
Ira Rothken, a lawyer involved in a northern California lawsuit, said the hacking could become "viral" because the cyber intruders can use the data they obtained from Sony to figure out passwords and security questions for bank accounts.