In a shocking apology letter to all PSN subscribers and in their blog post, Sony has admitted that a hacker may have stolen personal data (along with their birthdates, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, user names, passwords) and credit card information of 77 million PlayStation network accounts!
Though it is by no means uncommon for user data to be stolen by hackers, this is one of the largest and most high profile online data thefts to come to light. Playstation owners are upset and angry over this escapade ever since PS3 network went down last week!
PSN Accounts Hacked: How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Termed as one of the biggest internet security breaches, a hacker reportedly broke into Sony’s PlayStation video game online network and may have obtained access to personal data of about 77 million users, including credit card information, addresses, user names and passwords.
“We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network,” Sony said in a blog post Tuesday.
In response, the company said it has now turned off both of the services — which weren’t working anyway — and hired a well-known security firm to conduct “a full and complete investigation” into what happened.
Nevertheless, Sony is likely to face questions about when it knew that customer data had been stolen and why it waited so long before issuing a statement.
“They have almost let people believe that it was a harmless problem, when in actual fact they just weren’t telling us that someone might have our information,” a PS3 gamer stated.
“While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility,” Sony said. “If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.“
Now, while a credit card number is not required to set up a PSN account, the information listed above could be used to access bank accounts, so even if you didn’t attach a credit card number to your account, you’re still not entirely free and clear. For now though, just let’s just say your credit card info (minus the security code, per Sony’s statement) and personal data have been compromised.
The company also advised users to change their PlayStation Network passwords as soon as the service is restored. Sony expects to restore services “within a week,” their blog post says.
Sony now advises users to “remain vigilant” and be on the lookout for e-mail, telephone and postal scams. Hackers will sometimes use personal data they have stolen to target users with phishing attacks or try to trick them into handing over further data. If you have attached your credit card to your PSN account and if are concerned that your account has been compromised then read our guide on how to protect yourself from identity theft.