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Sony calls in data Sherlocks to unpick megahack disaster

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Sony has drafted in security experts to figure out who hacked into its systems - and how they did it - before stealing personal data on 100 million consumers of the company's services.

Both the firm's PlayStation Network and Online Entertainment service remain suspended in the aftermath of high-profile hack attacks that have turned Sony into a poster child for data insecurity. Sony has added extra security controls before beginning the phased restoration of both services, which it expects to complete by the end of the month.

In the meantime, it has hired computer forensics experts from Guidance Software and Data Forté (among others) to figure out what went wrong, the BBC reports. The FBI and Oracle are also looking into the breach, which affected 77 million PlayStation Network gamers and 25 million users of its Online Entertainment services. Sony admits that unidentified intruders may have made off with credit cards details of PlayStation Network gamers but is seeking to reassure its customers that the card data was encrypted.

The breach also exposed names, email addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers – all stored in plain text – as well as hashed copies of login credentials. Users have been notified about the security lapse. The chances of credit card fraud against registered accounts diminishes by the day but concerns remain that the depth of information available might facilitate future ID theft fraud, which typically involves establishing lines of credit under assumed names. ®

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