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Tuesday April 26, 2011 7:43 pm

PlayStation Network outage goes from bad to worse, customer information stolen


Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: Video Games


Sony PSN personal information stolen

Sony confirmed Tuesday that hackers have managed to obtain personal information Sony stored within the PlayStation Network, possibly including credit cards. The service will be down, at most, another week.

In an update posted to the PlayStation Blog, Sony senior director of corporate communications and social media Patrick Seybold noted that the "malicious actions" has caused Sony to send a email to all of its customers.

That email will tell subscribers that Sony has turned off the PlayStation Network and Qriocity cloud-music service; engaged an outside security firm; and "taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure by re-building our system to provide you with greater protection of your personal information".


"Thank you for your patience while we work to resolve the current outage of PlayStation Network & Qriocity services," Seybold wrote. "We are currently working to send a similar message to the one below via email to all of our registered account holders regarding a compromise of personal information as a result of an illegal intrusion on our systems. These malicious actions have also had an impact on your ability to enjoy the services provided by PlayStation Network and Qriocity including online gaming and online access to music, movies, sports and TV shows.

"We have a clear path to have PlayStation Network and Qriocity systems back online, and expect to restore some services within a week," Seybold added. "We're working day and night to ensure it is done as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience and feedback."

Sony noticed problems with the PlayStation Network last Wednesday night, taking down the service for a day or two. By Friday, however, the company had confirmed that an "external intrusion" had occurred, and that Sony had taken down the Qriocity cloud-music service as well as its PlayStation Network as a result. Fingers pointed at "Anonymous", the faceless hacker organization that had vowed a Sony boycott, but the group denied responsibility.

The PlayStation Network is used to deliver downloadable games, movies, music, and other services to consumers who own a PlayStation 3 console. But the network also serves as the infrastructure for multiplayer games, meaning that gamers won't be able to play a multiplayer game like "Call of Duty" until Sony fixes the outage.

What information may be at risk? Sony explains:

"Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained," the email states. "If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. 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."

Sony also warned that the hackers may either use or pass along this information to scammers. "Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information," Sony said. "If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking."

Sony did not raise the issue of refunds or any compensation. Instead, it signed off on a somewhat apologetic note. "We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience," Sony said. "Our teams are working around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible. Sony takes information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that additional measures are taken to protect personally identifiable information."

This article, written by Mark Hachman, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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