PlayStation Network Shut Down After Security Breach

By Erin Harrison April 27, 2011

A security breach of credit card data of Sony PlayStation users around the globe may have been stolen forcing the company to shut down its popular play network.

According to an Associated Press report, Sony Corp. shut down its PlayStation Network for the past week, disconnecting 77 million user accounts.

In an email sent to PlayStation customers, Sony officials wrote: “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,” according to an official PlayStation blog post on April 26 by  Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications and social media for Sony.

The message also encouraged customers to be “especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information.”

“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 reports,” the message continued.

However, Sony has not been able to confirm whether its customers credit card information was actually stolen, the AP said.

Sony said it has no direct evidence credit card information was taken, but said ‘we cannot rule out the possibility,’” according to the report.

“It said the intrusion was ‘malicious’ and that the company had hired an outside security firm to investigate. It has taken steps to rebuild its system to provide greater protection for personal information and warned users to contact credit agencies and set up fraud alerts,” the AP said.

In an earlier blog post, also published April 26, Seybold confirmed that Sony brought in outside experts to help the company ascertain 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.”

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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