PlayStation Breach Affects Over 70 Million Customers

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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UPDATE: A breach analysis can be found HERE:  Sony PlayStation Hack: 70 Million User Details Stolen

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Sony Corporation has announced that the PlayStation Network was the subject of a breach that may have compromised the records of as many as 70 million customers.

The company had initially shut down the online gaming network last week after discovering an unauthorized system access event.

After several days of investigation, Sony believes that the intruders may have accessed private customer information including login credentials, billing information, and credit card details.

Sony published the following announcement on the PlayStation blog, including the text of an email that is being sent to the potentially affected customers:

"We are currently working to send the following message via email to all of our registered account holders regarding a compromise of personal information as a result of this malicious attack on our servers, so please look for this information via email as well. Please note that we are as upset as you are regarding this attack and are going to proceed aggressively to track down those that are responsible:"

Valued PlayStation Network/Qriocity Customer,

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. In response to this intrusion, we have:

1) Temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services;

2) Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened; and

3) Quickly 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.

We greatly appreciate your patience, understanding and goodwill as we do whatever it takes to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as practicable.

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/province, zip or postal code), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity passwords 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. 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 that credit card data was taken at this time, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, to be on the safe side we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may also have been obtained.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security, tax identification or similar number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.

To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant to review your account statements and to monitor your credit or similar types of reports.

We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience. 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. Providing quality and secure entertainment services to our customers is our utmost priority. Please check www.eu.playstation.com/psnoutage should you have any additional questions.

Sincerely,

Sony Network Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment Teams
Sony Network Entertainment Europe Limited (formerly known as PlayStation Network Europe Limited) is a subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited the data controller for PlayStation Network/Qriocity personal data.

As for the delay in reporting the breached customer data, Sony posted in a separate blog that there was a time span of several days between discovering the breach and recognizing that customer data had been accessed:

"There’s a difference in timing between when we identified there was an intrusion and when we learned of consumers’ data being compromised. We learned there was an intrusion 19th April and subsequently shut the services down. We then brought in outside experts to help us learn how the intrusion occurred and to conduct an investigation to determine the nature and scope of the incident. It was necessary to conduct several days of forensic analysis, and it took our experts until yesterday to understand the scope of the breach. We then shared that information with our consumers and announced it publicly yesterday evening."

Sony has also published a list of "frequently asked questions" with more details pertaining to the breach incident, the lost data, and their efforts to notify customers. The FAQ's also provide region-specific company contact information.

As for the perpetrators of the PSN system hack, no individuals or groups have taken responsibility for the incident as of yet.

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