Lessons from Sony’s catastrophic data breach

Sony is one of the leading manufacturers of video games, movies, and music content.

The company is a global giant, generating over 88 billion dollars in total annual revenue.

Like any massive corporation, they have plenty of lawyers on staff to ensure the company is protected.

But in a recent court case, the company made a big mistake.

As part of an FTC V. Microsoft case, Sony provided a document from the Chief of its PlayStation division.

The PlayStation document included redacted details about its revenues and the costs of developing its video games.

But the document had been redacted by someone who used a Sharpie felt-tip marker to do the redactions.

And when the documents were scanned into a computer it was easy to see the private details that were supposed to be redactions.

The court tried to remove the documents, but the damage was already done.

Reporters and Sony competitors had already downloaded the documents from the public records.

The document revealed that Sony had spent five years and over $200 million on one of its video games.

It also showed that over 300 Sony employees worked on the video game during this time frame.

The document revealed the habits of PlayStation users.

For example, Sony says that one million PlayStation users play nothing but the game Call of Duty.

By providing the documents, Sony was trying to show the court that its revenues would be heavily affected if Xbox was the only place to play Call of Duty.

The thing is, Sony revealed exactly how much they make on Call of Duty and how much customers play the game.

The game was worth $800 million in revenue for Sony in 2021 alone.

The redacted document revealed how much revenue the company shares with third-party publishers. It also included what video games will be released in the future.

Obviously, this was a massive breach in private company data, and someone will likely be fired over this ridiculous snafu.

These days, there are plenty of times when you may have to share documents with someone you don’t know or trust.

And there could be scenarios where you might need or want to redact something from a document.

As you’ve seen, if you’re going to redact something, the last thing you want to use is a Sharpie.

Instead, here are a few of the best ways to redact information from a document.

Cut it out:

The most secure way to redact something from a document is to cut out the part you want to remove.

Use scissors and cut out all the text that you want gone.

Once you have cut out the private details, cut up those pieces into smaller and smaller pieces, so they can’t be put back together.

Finally, burn the pieces if you can, or throw the tiny pieces away in a few different trash cans, so no one can make heads or tails from them.

Of course, having a document with a lot of cut-out parts or holes is not the most professional looking.

So, you can tape another piece of paper to the back of the document or make a copy of the redacted document using a copy machine.

This will make a cleaner looking copy without any cutouts.

Yes, this is an extreme measure.

Opaque tape:

Another way to hide private information is to put opaque tape over the words you want to redact.

The opaque tape has a matte finish and a black backing that blocks light and masking. The tape is used in photo-processing labs.

The tape is completely impenetrable by light and is not transparent.

So, even if the document was scanned the tape would prevent the words from being legible.

Finally, the tape is difficult to remove, so it would be hard to pull away the tape without damaging the paper, which further obscures the information you wanted to redact.

Scan the document:

Another option is to scan the document into your computer.

Once it’s scanned in, you can create a version that doesn’t contain the redacted information.

You want to delete the sensitive information off the scanned in document, not simply put a black box it.

That’s because a tech savvy person could get ahold of the file and possibly remove the redaction tool.

Instead, simply remove the words you want redacted and replace them with the black redaction box.

This way, it appears the details are being redacted, but there is actually nothing there.

So, if the document fell into the wrong hands, they still wouldn’t be able to get the information.

Lastly, before sharing a redacted document, have another person read it over.

Having another set of eyes look at the document can help make sure you didn’t miss any important details.

Before sharing any paperwork that has any of your sensitive information on it, consider these redacting tips to eliminate the chance of your data falling into the wrong hands.

This should be part of your comprehensive plan to shield your private information from thieves, hackers, or even big tech or government snoops.

But it can’t be the only piece. Especially in today’s tech heavy world.

You need a proven plan to secure your sensitive info from falling into the wrong hands.

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