06/24/2011 10:27 am ET Updated Aug 24, 2011

Before Hacks, Sony Laid Off Employees Responsible For Security: Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed against Sony alleges that the company laid off a number of people in a unit responsible for security two weeks before the major network breach that exposed the information of 100 million users.

According to Reuters, the lawsuit uncovers numerous damning details about Sony's practices leading up to the breach, alleging that the company spent a considerable amount of money and energy protecting its own information, even as it left its customers' data vulnerable to hackers.

The lawsuit accuses Sony of knowing that it was at risk for attack before the breach occurred, as it had undergone other smaller breaches earlier. Despite that, Sony laid off "a substantial percentage" of those in its Sony Online Entertainment group, including many of those employees in the Network Operations Center, which handles web security. While Sony prepared its corporate data by using firewalls, among other things, it left customer data unprotected.

Sony has experienced a wave of fresh attacks since the initial breach, including a LulzSec hack on Sony Pictures that gained access to the info of over 37,000 users. Though Sony has tried to atone for the initial breach with freebies for gamers, the company has come under intense scrutiny not only by its customers, but by security professionals and the U.S. government.

Sony executive Kazuo Hirai has called the attacks a "wake up call." It's estimated that Sony will have to spend $173 million dollars to pay for the consequences of the hacks.

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