Sony PlayStation Network Breach

PlayStation owners love the internet capability of the their game system launched in 2006 to include games, music and movies but this week many PlayStation owners learned that they were big losers.  What did they lose?
There was a major breach in the Sony video game online network and information on 77 million user accounts was stolen was stolen in a theft that was “illegal and unauthorized.”
What information was stolen?
-email addresses
-birth dates
-log ins
-security question answers
In other words, all the personal information used to commit fraud and identity theft.
What about credit cards… and children’s personal data?
What’s worse credit card data is a possibility on the list too. While Sony says that there is no evidence that credit card numbers were stolen, Sony warned users not to rule out the possiblitiy.
“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 said.
Sony acknowledges that children with accounts established by their parents may have been exposed as well and children are by no means immune from identity theft.
This may be the largest identity theft data breach ever according Alan Paller, research director at the SANS Institute.  In 2009 Albert Gonzalez pleaded guilty to stealing tens of millions of credit card numbers from  corporate computer systems at companies like 7-Eleven Inc and Target Co.
Sony notified the public on Tuesday but this was allegedly a full week after they learned of the breach and shut down the network.
Cory Hirsekorn, 27-year-old Seattle PlayStation user told King 5 news,
“I thought there was something wrong with my system.”  Every time he tried to log on he got a message reading “Playstation Network is currently undergoing maintenance.”
The Unanswered Questions:
How did this happen?
How will the hacker use the stolen information?
What We Do Know:
(And it is not much)
The breach appeared to have happen between April 17 and April 19, 2011.
Headlines: “Breach Could Cost Sony $24 Million”
How was this projected cost calculated?  According to the Ponemon Institute, a data-security research firm, in 2010 the estimated cost of a data breach involving a malicious or criminal act averaged $318 per compromised record and with 77 million PlayStation network users that could mean costs of $24 billion for Sony.
Sony’s Advice to Network Users:
Place “high alert” fraud alerts on their credit card accounts through the three U.S. Credit Bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
Cory Hirsekorn admits that he, like many people, have used the same log in names and passwords for more than one program and “that information is now out there,” he says.
In addition to placing fraud alerts, it’s a good idea to change passwords and also read all bills immediately and timely to look for unexplained charged or new accounts.  Don’t let unopened mail up.  The sooner you can identify a problem the easier it can be to resolve.
Are you a PS2 player?  Are you concerned about the Sony breach?  We’d love to hear from you.