Over the past week the PlayStation Network has been shut down due to an ‘external intrusion.’ This hack has allowed whoever it was that did it to obtain user data such as passwords, dates of birth and email addresses. Although Sony seems to be saying that your Credit card details should still be secure but keep an eye on your bank account. Who’s fault is this and what should the users of the PSN do?
First off, go and change your password to any site or email account that you’ve used the same password as you did on the PSN. This is the first step to re-securing your online identity. Sony mentioned that when the PSN comes back up, a patch will force you to change your password before you can do anything else.
This is a massive hack. It’s unlikely Sony would ever have had to plan ahead for this sort of attack on their systems. In the wake of GeoHotz and the Anonymous group damaging the PlayStation Network, someone has decided to dive straight for Sony’s proverbial jugular. Sony reacted as quickly as they could by shutting off the entire PSN once the breach was noticed, the classic response to something possibly going wrong with technology.
For the first few days they stayed very quiet. This was later explained away as Sony had no idea how much had been done or what had been accessed. Now that they know what’s been accessed they’re starting to explain what’s going on. The biggest problem which seemed to arise is that Sony has given lacklustre information to its users in general. Well.. Other than the massive security breach and loss of 77 million user’s data.
But who’s fault was this? I personally say it’s hard to blame Sony for this. They have security systems in place, it’s not as if they were waving everyone’s data around in the hacker’s faces. An attack this large on a game system is unprecedented and as such, Sony could never have predicted this. Perhaps the security they did have could have been stronger, perhaps they could have seen the hack sooner and shut the system down before the data was accessed. The fact is, this is not Sony’s fault
The group that was attacking the PSN a few weeks ago, Anonymous has said that they were not officially involved with this intrusion, however they didn’t rule out that part of the group could have acted out alone in some way. It is unlikely that Anon are lying, simply because there’s no reason for them to deny doing it if it was them.
Sony have today confirmed that they are pursuing the Hackers and considering what happened with GeoHotz recently, taking into account what he did in comparison to these hackers, I doubt that Sony will go easy on them.
So, what should the Users do?
1. Change your passwords as soon as you can on accounts that aren’t your PSN account. This will help keep all your other accounts safe. You will be forced to change your password the next time you log into the PSN once it’s back online.
2. Don’t take your eyes off your bank accounts. If you see any unusual charges, report it to your bank as an unauthorised transaction. Some people are going as far as to deactivate the cards they have registered to their PSN accounts. This would be the safest thing to do but also the most inconvinent considering that there’s no confirmation that anyone has accessed anyone’s card details.
3. Don’t reply to any emails with any of your personal data. The Hackers have your email address that you used for your PSN account. Anything sent to that asking for personal data or anything unusual, ignore and block.
4. Most of all, don’t panic. If you panic, you might do something dumb. Doing dumb things rarely helps in this sort of situation.
Also, if you’re not old enough to have set up your PSN account yourself or have a parent or other person’s card numbers linked to your account, tell them as soon as you can and make sure they are also checking their accounts.
Most of this is common sense and should generally be practised when you’re using personal data online no matter what. However, I know how annoying it can be to remember a large number of different passwords or keeping track of your finances. Just stay vigilant for now and with any luck, everything will be sorted in the next month or so.
Sony are currently expecting to have the PSN back up, albeit not fully functioning, by May 3rd. Sony have stated that they have completly rebuilt the underlying security tech behind the PSN so it’s unlikely that this will be as easy,(Not that I’m saying it WAS easy) to do this again.
Sources and useful links:
Service Outage FAQ: http://us.playstation.com/support/answer/index.htm?a_id=2185
PlayStation Blog update, 27th April: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/04/27/qa-1-for-playstation-network-and-qriocity-services/
PlayStation US Support: http://us.playstation.com/support/ (Easier source for information than localised pages, trust me. Took me much longer to find info on the UK site.)
For better, more dedicated information and help, try Google. It probably knows more than I do.