Sony PlayStation Network card

PlayStation NetworkUsers of Sony's PlayStation Network are at risk of identity theft after hackers broke into the system, and accessed the personal information of video game players.

The implications of the hack, which resulted in the service being offline since last week, are only now becoming clear as Sony has confirmed that the hackers, who broke into the system between April 17th and April 19th, were able to access the personal data of online gamers.

  • * Name
    * Address (city, state, zip code)
    * Country
    * Email address
    * Date of birth
    * PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login
    * Handle/PSN online ID

Sony statementIn addition, Sony warns that profile information - such as your history of past purchases and billing address, as well as the "secret answers" you may have given Sony for password security may also have been obtained.

As if that wasn't bad enough, Sony admits that it cannot rule out the possibility that credit card information may also have been compromised:

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.

The fact that credit card details, used on the network to buy games, movies and music, may also have been stolen is obviously very worrying, and affected users would be wise to keep a keen eye on their credit card statements for unexpected transactions.Sony controller Questions clearly have to be asked as to whether Sony was ignorant of PCI data security standards and storing this and other personal data in an unencrypted format.

So how could hackers exploit the information stolen from the Sony PlayStation Network?

1. Break into your other online accounts. We know that many people use the same password on multiple websites. So if your password was stolen from the Sony PlayStation Network, it could then be used to unlock many other online accounts - and potentially cause a bigger problem for you.

So you should always use unique passwords.

Oh, and you better be sure that you have changed your "secret answers" too.

2. Email you phishing scams or malware attacks. If they stole your email address from Sony, they can now email you. And it wouldn't be difficult for the cybercriminals to create an email which pretended to be a legitimate organisation (perhaps Sony themselves?) to steal more information or carried a Trojan horse designed to infect your computer. The fact that they know your name and snail-mail address could make the email even more convincing.

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