PlayStation hack leaves 75 million exposed

Visitors at the Sony Building in downtown Tokyo play Sony's next-generation video game PlayStation 3 as its two-week-long free trial service goes on. Sony Corp. said that the credit card data of PlayStation users around the world may have been stolen in a hack that forced it to shut down its PlayStation Network for the past week, disconnecting 77 million user accounts. (AP)

Sony has warned that hackers stole password, birthday and other data about users of its PlayStation Network that connected PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles to online games, films and more.
PlayStation Network and Qriocity streaming music service were turned off on April 20 in the wake of an "external intrusion", according to Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold.
While the cyber attack was still being investigated, Sony said it believed that PlayStation Network and Qriocity service users' names, addresses, birthdates, passwords, and email addresses were swiped.
"While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility," Sony said in an email message being sent out to PlayStation Network and Qriocity users.
"It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained.''
Sony shut off PlayStation Network and Qriocity to investigate the breach and bolster defences, according to Seybold.
"We have a clear path to have PlayStation Network and Qriocity systems back online, and expect to restore some services within a week," Seybold said.
Efforts to fix the situation include re-building the system to strengthen network infrastructure, according to Sony.
Players were still able to take part in games offline on the consoles, but lost the ability to challenge others on the Internet, stream movies, or get other services.
PlayStation Network launched in November of 2006 and boasts about 75 million registered users.
Sony did not indicate whether it identified a culprit in the intrusion.
Internet vigilante group Anonymous had vowed retribution against Sony for taking legal action against hackers who cracked PS3 defences to change console operating software.
A message signed by Anonymous at website anonnews.org early this month announced an "Operation Payback" campaign aimed at Sony because of its cases against the two hackers, one of whom cut a deal to settle the case.
Anonymous argued that PS3 console owners had the right to do what they wished with them, including modifying them.
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