Thursday, May 5, 2011
More than 100 million Sony Online Entertainment users are at high risk of identity fraud long after their personal data was illegally accessed.
SAN DIEGO Cyber-criminals got access to passwords, names, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers and credit card data from the Sony Online Entertainment Network—known around the world for it’s PlayStation gaming.
A Sony data center based in San Diego discovered an unusual surge or pattern of Internet activity in mid-April.
The company apologized on May 1.
But, it was too late for online users like Natasha Maksimovic. The Canadian college student filed a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against Sony.
In a statement she stated, “If you can’t trust a multinational corporation like Sony to protect your private information, who can you trust? It appears to me that Sony focuses more on protecting its games than its PlayStation users.”
Sony Computer Entertainment Canada has not commented on the lawsuit.
Sony network executives blame the computer hacker group “Anonymous” for allowing access to their database. But, “Anonymous” vehemently denies any involvement.
In the meantime, the 102 million online victims face a future of uncertain credit security.
Murray Jennex, Ph.D., is an information security expert and business professor at San Diego State University. He said stolen personal identity data is much more valuable than credit card information.
“The criminals sell these identities—what they’ll do is bundle them and sell them on the Internet. People will buy them and then use them to open up new credit lines weeks or months from now.
Jennex recommends identity victims check their credit reports often during the next year.
Sony’s PlayStation website has regular updates about the online break-in.
The company also promised PlayStation customers a voucher to download free and exclusive games for a month.
Sony said they would try and get their gaming back on line sometime soon.