Greetings friends! So, this isn’t going to be much of a blog post, but I know a number of people who use Sony’s PlayStation Network – and I want to use my blog to get the word out about the recent hack into their network. I’m not going to go too much into detail, but I did want to type something a little bit longer than a Facebook or Twitter message allows… and just linking to the relevant news articles would likely result in people not actually reading all of them to understand the danger here. So, I’m going to do a short summary of what’s going on.
Sony confirmed that personal information has been accessed in a recent breach of their PlayStation Network. Specifically, the hackers are sure that they have accessed: users’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses, birthday, and your PSN login name and password. What is more troubling is that they don’t seem to know if credit card information was accessed. If they do, they haven’t publicly stated one way or the other at the time of this writing. The Ars Technica article I linked to provides some good suggestions on how to protect yourselves in light of this recent breach, but if you use PSN I’m going to suggest some more aggressive measures:

  1. First, be wary of anyone that emails you who seems to know the information listed above. No reputable company asks for personally identifying information over email. So, if you get an email from someone who knows who you are, and they are asking for your credit card information – don’t give it to them.
  2. If you use your PSN password for other services, as many people do, change your password in all those locations. While I certainly hope that Sony had the brains to store the passwords in encrypted form on their server, nothing is fair game. At the very least, change the password for your email account if it is anything similar to your PSN password.
  3. Call your bank, tell them what is happening, and ask them to send you a new credit card with a new number ASAP. Yeah, it could be a bit of a pain to change over all your online services – but it will be worth it if you avoid having your money stolen. I’m willing to wager anyone that in the next two days Sony will come out and say the credit card information on their servers has been compromised as well.

As usual, the best offense against situations like this is a good defense. While we’re on the topic, there are some general good things that you can do to make situations like this less inconvenient for you. For example, have a credit card that you only use for online transactions. That way, if it gets hacked and you need to cancel it – you still have your regular debit or credit card to purchase things with. As always, I’d love to hear some good suggestions on identity protection or what you think of the mess with PSN in the comments.

As for me, I need to get to class – so I’ll see you guys again shortly!