ONLINE GAMING OUTFIT Sony has suffered a severe security breach on its Playstation Network and Qriocity services that has compromised users' personal data including passwords and credit card details.
The latest twist in this growing debacle is Sony's admission that between 17 and 19 April there was an "an illegal and unauthorised intrustion" onto its network that resulted in customer account information being stolen.
Sony revealed that the data stolen included users' names, addresses, countries, email addresses, birthdates, passwords, login-IDs and usernames for the Playstation Network and Qriocity services.
The company said that a number of other details might have been obtained, including credit card information and password security answers. Sony said that there is no evidence yet that credit card details were stolen, but that "out of an abundance of caution" it was advising customers that their full credit card numbers and expiration dates might have been exposed. The security codes on the backs of credit cards are believed to be safe.
What this means for customers is that they could become the victims of scams via phone, mail, or email that ask for additional details needed to steal their identity or make use of the credit card information. Sony is warning customers to be vigilant and stressing that it will never contact them asking for their personal information.
Sony also advised people to change their passwords, especially if they use them on multiple websites, and to avail themselves of fraud prevention services, such as filing a fraud alert with a credit bureau. Sony has not said as much, but caution suggests that it might also be a good idea to cancel credit cards and get new ones.
This security breach elevates the seriousness of the attack on Sony's network in the eyes of the law and could mean big trouble for whoever is behind it if they get caught. Anonymous has denied organising the attack, but admitted that some members may have acted independently.
Sony said it is working around the clock to bring its services back online and has hired a security firm to investigate the attack. For customers who have merely been angry about losing access to Sony's online services, this has just become an even bigger and more serious headache. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ