Feeds

User data stolen in Sony PlayStation Network hack attack

Poorly secured system to remain offline

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Sony is warning its millions of PlayStation Network (PSN) users to watch out for identity-theft scams after hackers breached its security and plundered the user names, passwords, addresses, birth dates, and other information used to register accounts.

The stolen information may also include payment-card data, purchase history, billing addresses, and security answers used to change passwords, Sony said on Tuesday. The company plans to keep the hacked system offline for the time being, and to restore services gradually. The advisory also applies to users of Sony's related Qriocity network.

Sony's stunning admission came six days after the PlayStation Network was taken down following what the company described as an “external intrusion”.

Sony had already come under fire for a copyright lawsuit targeting customers who published instructions for unlocking the game console so it could run games and applications not officially sanctioned by the company. The criticism only grew after Sony lawyers sought detailed records belonging to hacker George Hotz, including the IP addresses of everyone who visited his jailbreaking website over a span of 26 months.

Hackers howled with displeasure saying they should have a right to modify the hardware they legally own. Sony recently settled that case, but Hotz, whose hacker moniker is GeoHot, has remained highly critical of the company. Many have also objected to the removal of the so-called OtherOS, which allowed PlayStation 3 consoles to run Linux.

Sony's advisory on Tuesday means that the company was likely storing passwords, credit card numbers, expiration dates, and other sensitive information unhashed and unencrypted on its servers. Sony didn't say if its website complied with data-security standards established by the Payment Card Industry.

Sony reminded users located in the US that they're entitled to receive one credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. The company didn't offer to pay for any sort of credit monitoring service to help ensure the information it lost isn't used in identity-theft ruses against its users.

“When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password,” advises a letter that Sony is sending to its users.

Of course, that suggestion assumes users continue to trust Sony to safeguard their information and stand behind assurances that the PlayStation Network is secure, and at the moment there's little evidence to support that assumption. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.