Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Handling the Playstation Network Attack

So yes, the Playstation Network (PSN) has been hacked, so what? This sort of stuff happens all the time. No really it does, remember that Epsilon fiasco that happened three weeks ago? Whether the bad guys are getting smarter or the good guys are getting lazier, you as a consumer must always be prepared to handle the unfortunate possibility of having your personal information stolen. Especially if you’re putting your information out on the inter-webz. So is Sony at fault? Absolutely, but I can’t just put all the blame on them. As far as I can tell Sony made two glaring mistakes.
  1. Sony is in the middle of a law suit with an organization named Anonymous. Anonymous basically didn't like Sony's handling of the PSN or the lawsuit against one of their own, George Hotz. To make a point, Anonymous found some wholes in the PSN's security protocols and decided to exploite them. Now I’m not claiming that Anonymous is responsible for the recent hacking, I’m just saying Anonymous pointed out some huge problems with the network and Sony didn’t act with immediate urgency.
  2. The fact that it took Sony 6 days to say there has been, “a compromise of personal information ” is a little ridiculous. Sony, did you know it only takes an hour or so to ruin someone’s credit? What took you so long to tell us that we needed to change our passwords and throw our credit cards into a shredder?
Like I said, this stuff happens so lets stop pointing fingers and do something a little more productive. Now that we know the PSN has been hacked, what can we do to protect ourselves? Thanks to Joystiq’s article on the situation, I feel we have some options. First off lets determine what was taken.
Stolen Information
Name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PSN/Qriocity password and login, and PSN online ID 
Outcome: Nothing too bad, worst case scenario, be prepared to get your email and regular mail spammed.
Information That May Have Been Stolen
Purchase history, billing address (city, state, zip), your PSN/Qriocity password security answers, and of course your credit cards numbers
Outcome: This is a lot more serious mainly because a credit card number has been stolen. Worst case scenario: You have just furnished someone with multiple new cars, a trip around the world, and a state-of-the-art robot butler.
Change your passwords and cancel those credit cards immediately. While I believe 90% of PSN users probably won't run into any troubles, I always find it better to err on the side of caution when it comes to hackers who can financially ruin you. Don’t let the PSN hackers bum you out, PSN will be back and better than ever and we will all go back to playing MvC3 and Call of Duty in no time. 

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