By now you’ve probably heard hackers broke into Sony’s PlayStation Network, exposing personal information of up to 77 million users worldwide. If you’re concerned, here are some tips on what you can do.
Sony has confirmed the details of tens of millions of PlayStation Network accounts may have been stolen, following a hack attack in mid-April. Sony says this was an “illegal and unauthorised intrusion” into the PlayStation Network (and its Qriosity media service, too).
A FAQ section on the PlayStation website confirms that all the information provided by users of the network may have been compromised – this includes name, address, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network password, password security answers, online ID and maybe even credit card number and expiry date.
This isn’t the first and most certainly won’t be the last of account breaches – consider it an unfortunate by-product of the information age. Just last month, Epsilon — a Texas-based email marketing firm – confirmed millions of names and email addresses were stolen (er, including mine, actually).
If you’re a PlayStation Network member and are concerned, the following are a few tips to consider:
1. Be aware. Keep a close eye on your credit card charges — either online or by carefully looking through your paper credit card statement — and report any unauthorized activity immediately to your credit card company (and your local police). Some security experts say it’s premature to cancel your credit card just yet, but users should most definitely look at the purchases to ensure they’re all legit. It might not hurt to also call your bank and/or credit card company to tell them about the security breach. To find out which credit card you used on PlayStation Network, search your email account for messages from DoNotReply@ac.playstation.net.
2. It’s time for change. At the very least, when the service is back up and running, change your PlayStation Network ID, password and even the security questions and answers. And because it’s estimated 40 percent of us use the same password for all online activity, be sure to change the password on other accounts, too (and try not to use the same one for everything going forward). You might not want to go so far as to change email addresses, but it’s a consideration if you’re not tied to a particular account. On that note, I always use an extra webmail account (free ones like Gmail, Windows Live or Yahoo!) for things like online gaming, shopping and such – and not my main email address.
3. Don’t believe the scams. The PlayStation website says you might get an email asking you to confirm your info, like credit card number. Ignore it. 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” so be aware of these phishing scams that may arise as a result of the security breach. These online thieves want to steal your personal identity for financial gain and will use any tricks necessary to get this information from you. Don’t be gullable. You might also get more spam, too.