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Sony's PlayStation Network Hacked, User Data Stolen

Sony finally released a statement about the outage of its PlayStation Network since April 20, and it also confirmed a mass theft of customer data.

Users' names, addresses, country data, e-mail addresses, birthdates and PlayStation Network usernames and passwords have been stolen by hackers. Along with that information, which Sony confirmed was compromised, profile data -- including recent purchases, billing addresses and password security answers -- may also be in the hands of the unidentified hackers.

The company is advising users to keep a close eye for any unauthorized credit card transactions. It also recommends changing any password that is the same as the one used for the PlayStation Network.

Sony's PlayStation Network is the company's component to its Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable gaming consoles that provides online gaming, browsing and marketplace purchases of games, movies and music. Pulling the plug on this service has also halted access to third-party services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, NHL GameCenter Live, MLB.TV and Qriocity. The outage and compromise of data, which is in its sixth day, has affected an estimated 75 million users worldwide.  

After staying quiet about the outage for almost a week, the company released a statement on its PlayStation Blog concerning the incident.

"We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network."

Since learning of the situation, Sony said it has employed the help of an undisclosed security firm to lead in the investigation as it works around the clock to rebuild its online system.

The relative lack of news and information from the company lead to the rumor that the hacker group Anonymous was responsible for the attack. However, the group has denied the allegations and stated on their Web site that "For once we didn't do it."

As for how long the outage will continue, the company is not giving any timetable. It expects to have limited functionality up and running within the next week.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Apr 27, 2011 Dave

How soon until the media replaces "Playstation" with "XBox". The hacker group Anonymous is being given credit for the breach in the media. The only thing that Microsoft can be sure of is that they have not uncovered a breach. Remeber HBGary? It's best now not to toot your security horn too loud.

Wed, Apr 27, 2011 AK

So... Sony was storing unencrypted passwords...? How can anyone who runs any kind of online service (or, frankly, anyone who runs ANY kind of service requiring a login) still be storing unencrypted passwords!?

Wed, Apr 27, 2011 Fred

Good that SONY "recommends changing any password that is the same as the one used for the PlayStation Network." But it should also urge changing any password elsewhere that is protected by the same "password security answers" as those used with the PlayStation network -- which, after all, "may also be in the hands of the unidentified hackers."

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