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WebWise news report - PlayStation information stolen

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Hajar Javaheri Hajar Javaheri | 10:26 UK time, Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sony has warned that users of its PlayStation Network - a virtual space where members can play games and chat online - may have had personal information stolen.

Sony has issued a statement saying that between April 17th and 19th 2011, the PSN (PlayStation Network) and Qriocity service user account information which supports it was "compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion" into the network.

The electronics manufacturer believes that names, addresses, email addresses and dates of birth as well as PSN passwords and online IDs have been taken, but doesn’t specify how many of its 70 million users have been affected.

The theft of this information alone puts users at a higher risk of identity fraud and provides ways for hackers to access even more personal information, as Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos, points out.

"Some people will use the same passwords on other sites. If I was a hacker right now I would be taking those email addresses and trying those passwords."

Cluley’s comment is a reminder of the importance of having strong, unique passwords. For advice on password strength, read our WebWise piece ‘How to choose a good password'.   You can also test your password strength.

Users could also face a financial impact as Sony has admitted that credit card information obtained from online purchases may also have been stolen. To find out more on internet safety and how to minimise the risk of credit card fraud, go to our WebWise section on Safety and Privacy.

The PlayStation Network is currently unavailable to users, and the company has not said when it will be restored.

Read the full news story at BBC News Technology.  There's also a very useful Q&A section for people affected by this story.

Hajar is part of the WebWise production team and has also made award-winning programmes for BBC Radio. In her spare time she loves reading, writing and singing.


  • Comment number 1.

    Has anyone reading this blog been affected by this issue? Personally, I have an XBox which I haven't connected to the net yet. This story does make me think twice about my plans to wire it up, even though I know there's much more on offer if I use it to connect to the internet.

    My friend has an XBox and a PSP, both connected to the internet, and he's really not happy that his data has been compromised - but he said he considered it part of the risk attached to online gaming.


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