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77 Million People Affected by PlayStation Hack

77 Million People Affected by PlayStation Hack
April 29, 2011
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by Christopher Maag

Now even your video games can be hacked. Sony announced recently that all 77 million people who use their PlayStations to play online video games may have had their names, and maybe their credit card numbers, stolen by hackers. The hackers also obtained users’ addresses, birthdays and billing history.

The data breach forced Sony to shut down the online gaming network last week.

“We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience,” the company said in a press release. “Our teams are working around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible.”

Hackers gained access to the network from April 17 through April 19. Sony has not released yet how the breach occurred, but said in press releases that it is working to figure out how the hackers gained access. The breach affected Sony’s PlayStation Network, which people can use for online games and access to music, TV shows, and movies, as well as Qriocity, its cloud music subscription service.

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Sony made clear that it still doesn’t know the full extent of the breach. “While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility,” the company said in a release.

With the near pandemic rate of data breaches over the past few weeks alone, identity theft and online privacy and security risks have become a major concern for many consumers. Whether i's covering the movement of the “Do Not Track” legislation in Washington, or the latest data security warnings and steps to take if your information has been compromised online, can keep you in the know. We’ve compiled a number of resources and articles to help you learn more about this growing problem, what you can do to minimize your risk, and most importantly — information on the latest privacy and security legislation for you to get involved and support the cause:


* 12 Tips for Protecting Your Identity

* Don’t Add Insult to Injury After a Data Breach

* How to Avoid Online Tracking

* Reader Tips to Avoid Online Tracking

Online Privacy & Security Legislation:

* Don’t Track Me: The War Over Online Ads Starts Now

* FTC “Do Not Track” Proposal: Q&A With A Privacy Advocate

* A Bill of Rights for Internet Advertising

* Digital Footprints: The Do Not Track proposal

* The FTC and the Future of Privacy Enforcement in America

Latest Data Breaches & Online Security Reports:

* Americans Understand Online Tracking. And They Don’t Like It.

* Epsilon Chief Plays Down Massive Data Breach

* When You’re the Apple of Their Eye

* Recent Govt. Data Breaches Pose Privacy Risk

* RockYou! Data Breach Lawsuit Moves Forward

* Human Error Exposes 3.5 Million Texans to ID Theft

* The Epsilon Breach: Don’t Take the Bait With Phishing Scams

* The End of Digital Innocence: What Does the Epsilon Breach Mean?

* Giant Data Breach Hits Nation’s Largest Banks, Retailers

* Report: IRS Still Putting our Financial Data at Risk

* Data Leak at Stem Cell Bank Makes My Blood Run Cold

* Facebook Profiles Raided: “Lovely Faces” Says FB Had It Coming

* Big Apple Store Scam Arrests Bring ID Theft Back to Basics

* Big Data Breach at Sensitive Lab Prompts Credit Scare

* eHarmony’s Valentine’s Day Gift: Stolen Data

Christopher Maag is a freelance journalist for publications including The New York Times, TIME magazine and Popular Mechanics. He graduated with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and has worked as a staff writer for daily newspapers, monthly magazines, alt weeklies and websites. Maag writes about people with big dreams set on little stages, including a teenage girl who races jet-powered tractors, and people who make millions of dollars impersonating Barack Obama.

Image: David Wulff, via

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