Feeds

PlayStation Network credit cards protected by encryption

User passwords? Not so much

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

All credit card information stored on Sony's PlayStation Network was encrypted, the company said one day after warning users their user names, passwords, birth dates and home addresses were stolen in a security breach.

“The entire credit card table was encrypted and we have no evidence that credit card data was taken,” Sony representatives wrote in the update, which was posted late on Wednesday. “The personal data table, which is a separate data set, was not encrypted, but was, of course, behind a very sophisticated security system that was breached in a malicious attack.”

The update clarifies statements Sony made on Tuesday that the stolen information may have included payment-card data, purchase history, billing addresses, and security answers used to change passwords. It didn't provide details about the encryption used to protect card data, but assuming it followed standard industry practices, it was likely enough to prevent the information from being used by the hackers behind the break in.

Wednesday's update follows multiple news reports that recounted PSN users who reported credit card fraud that seemed to coincide with the breach.

Noticeably absent from Sony's update was the status of passwords used to log in to the PlayStation Network. Industry practices dictate they should never be stored in clear text, but rather should be run through a one-way cryptographic hash algorithm, which converts each string in plaintext to a unique set of characters that can never be reversed.

As we've learned from last year's mammoth website hack at Gawker and numerous other security breaches, users frequently employ the same credentials for numerous accounts, making all of them vulnerable when a single one is compromised. Sony's update strongly urged PlayStation Network users who use the same account name and password for unrelated services to change them.

The update said that Sony has sent the majority of its 77 million users an email informing them of the breach and the steps they should take to protect themselves in its aftermath. The company also said it is working to track down the perpetrators.

“We are currently conducting a thorough investigation of the situation and are working closely with a recognized technology security firm and law enforcement in order to find those responsible for this criminal act no matter where in the world they might be located,” Sony representatives wrote.

They said they expect some online PlayStation services to resume this Tuesday. The network has been inaccessible since April 20, when Sony took it offline. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.