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Sony PlayStation Network security breach exposes millions of accounts

Consumer Reports News: April 27, 2011 12:43 PM

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Hackers stole personal data, possibly including credit card numbers, belonging to over 70 million customers of Sony's PlayStation Network and Qriocity music service, the company has admitted. Sony shut down the services over a week ago, but admitted to the data breach only yesterday.

According to a company spokesman, "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." Account information stolen includes "name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained."

Sony also warned: "While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. 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."

Sony states that it didn't know the extent of the data theft until Monday. But the delayed response has been questioned by some authorities, including Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, who sent a letter to Sony "demanding answers over the company’s failure to notify millions of customers of a data breach in the PlayStation Network on April 20, 2011." Blumenthal also called on the company to "provide PlayStation Network users with financial data security services, including free access to credit reporting services for two years."

If you have an account on the PlayStation Network or Qriocity, you should be on the alert for potential scams due to the data breach, including unusual e-mails or phone calls. You should also check your credit card and other accounts for unusual activity. When Sony restores access to the services, you should immediately change your password.

Sony: We Waited A Day, Not A Week, To Tell Gamers Hacker May Have Swiped Their Info [The Consumerist]
Update on PlayStation Network and Qriocity [PlayStation Blog]
Blumenthal Demands Answers from Sony over Playstation Data Breach [Press Release]
Common financial scams, how to prevent fraud [Consumer Reports Money Adviser]

Marc Perton

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