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Sony admits PlayStation Network user information compromised by hackers [Updated]

Sony Corp. on Tuesday admitted that hackers have obtained personal data and possibly credit card information of tens of millions of people who have registered for PlayStation Network, the company's online game and movie service, as well as its Qriocity digital music service.

Sony said it had 77 million accounts as of March 31 for its PlayStation Network, which links users via the Sony PlayStation 3 console to game downloads and online services such as Netflix Instant Watch video streaming service. Not all accounts are active, and it's possible that one person can have multiple accounts.

In a blog post, company spokesman Patrick Seybold said whoever gained access to personal information last week was able to steal the names, addresses, phone numbers, user names, birth dates, email addresses and passwords of registrants. The company acknowledged that it did not know whether credit card information was also stolen.

"While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility," Seybold wrote. "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 last week shut down its PlayStation Network service, saying the service had been the target of an "intrusion," but did not release details until Tuesday.

The delay in notifying customers drew the ire of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who fired off a letter to Sony, saying he was "troubled by the failure of Sony to immediately notify affected customers of the breach."

Sony said it did not understand the extent of the damage until Monday.

"We learned there was an intrusion April 19th and subsequently shut the services down," Seybold wrote Tuesday in an email response to a question from the Times regarding the timing of events. "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 this afternoon."

Such a broad breach of consumer information is rare, because most companies take precautions to silo customer information, separating contact information from credit card data, for example, so that only parts of any customer's profile can be accessed from a single attack.

The company said it plans to get parts of the PlayStation Network services back up "within a week."


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Photo: A demonstration of the PlayStation Move controller during Sony's press conference at the E3 convention in June 2010. Sony said hackers have obtained personal data and possibly credit card information of tens of millions of people who have registered for PlayStation Network. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (22)

Sad. I think Sony handled this about as poorly as possible. Not informing the public about the details of this breach could be lawsuit material. In fact, on a few forums I have already read about several people freaking out over huge bills on their credit cards as a result of these shenanigans. Whilst I cant confirm it was Sony or a spendy girlfriend, it definitely raises flags. In short check your account info and make sure theres no monkey business going on with your card(s). Thank goodness I only use those prepaid cards!

This is unethical, to say it politely. They were mum for over a week.

And now I have to fear for compromised info.

I wish I could rant at them in person like Mel Gibson. I really wish!!!

Are you kidding me? Sony - You need to figure out which customers were affected and personally contact them! This is ridiculous! Well, you can forget about me ever making purchases through your network and good luck that revenue stream.


The Luddites may have a point here...

As an avid 360 fan all I have to say is HA-HA, u get what u paid 4!!!

Recommended action: change your credit card number.

Japan has a great way of handling crises, bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away.

They knew our info was jacked for over a week and didn't say anything!!! I smell class action lawsuit.

I use pre-paid cards for online purchases.

Is sony offering to buy back PS3 and PS3 games to users that don't want to be part of company that does not have proper security? I would jump at the chance to dump their stuff.. not going to use the PS3 even when it comes up.. just going to change all the information with dummy info..

how can i get a refund for funds transferred into the PSN account?

Just called Bank of america to replace my cards. I told them it was because of Sony and they said I wasn't the only one to do so today.

It's also back to pc gaming for me. so long sony.

this is bad for sony on so many levels. not game levels either..... and very little info coming from sony is making the situation worse. a smart lawyer needs to step up and be a voice for 70 million users who have seriously compromised.

sony used the threat of violence against a tinkerer, geoh0t.

We anonymous are not amused.

For sale: 70,000,000 credit cards, names, and passwords likely used for other accounts too.

Poorly handled but I do hope that this does not hit them so hard financially that they begin charging for on line gaming.

Credit card numbers are the least of the worries. Those only require a phone call to cancel.

But you can't change your birth date or your name or your address (at least, not easily). Those three things are all you really need to steal an identity.

ahhahahaha this is why you use xbox live.

Xbox 360 > Ps3

Sony were mum, because they didn't know the severity of the situation until six days later. THEY DIDN'T HOLD OUT on the information. It was revealed to them through network forensics experts who evaluated the intrusion.

Its ridiculous to see how people will try to twist this into a sony negative as hard as possible when the fact is that it was a HACKER ATTACK that caused this.


No, this is why console gamers are idiots. Yourself included.

First off, this is ridiculous. there is no way that Sony DID NOT know. you shut down the entire network WORLD WIDE!! i mean really??? you dont just shut down the world wide network for a "hey looks like we got hacked again, darn" you shut it down because you know it is something serious. The second you shut it down you should of informed the WORLD, that it was because of a NETWORK HACK, not a problem with the network!!!!
Now a days with all the stolen identities and what not, you as a company Sony, should know better. I do agree with a lot of these individuals who have posted. There is a lawyer that will step up somewhere, and I am sure when he does sony is going to have to pay some Major BILLS. cause frankly this is ridiculous.

About the debate of Playstation, or Xbox. to all you "special" people out there trying to argue "that this is why you own a 360", this could of happened to 360 too. same concept, diffrent network. unlike Playstation though you pay for yours. as did I for a long time.


PS3 - I'm a bit miffed. I own BOTH consoles and XBOX360 does reign supreme for a reason. This is amatuer mangement at best.

Justin Brossman - you're a corn hole nugget. A very small dimwhitted fragment of feces.

when is PSN coming back?


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