Sony reaction to hack woes 'like the BP oil spill'

A crisis strategist says Sony's handling of its string of network hacks is similar to the way BP oil execs mishandled the massive oil spill in Gulf of Mexico last year.

"The execs have said one thing, but with oil pouring out of the pipeline you have to wonder if there's an end in sight," said Jason Maloni, a crisis public relations executive at Levick Strategic Communications.

Maloni told Forbes that Sony's self-imposed firewall around its executives has left it more open to criticism for its handling of the multiple attacks--as many as 10 separate incidents have, at various times, forced it to bring down its PSN and Qriocity networks, and admit that personal information from more than 100 million users has been compromised so far.

Those two networks were offline for nearly a month before Sony brought them back online and proclaimed them "safer than ever." Unfortunately, five other attacks have occurred since then, the most recent on its BG music site in Japan on Tuesday, and execs have essentially stayed mum.

"I don't understand this wall mentality," said Maloni. "It leaves a vacuum, so that everyone can make up their own mind about Sony's behavior."

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