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PlayStation Network – Hacked Before I Could Enter My Credit Card April 27, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, PlayStation 3.
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We have had a PlayStation 3 for a little over two weeks now, and for about half of that time the PlayStation Network has been down.

Sony, along with their PlayStation branch here in the US, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), has failed miserably to keep people informed in anything like a timely or complete manner.

And even when they have attempted to be forthcoming, their statements have had the tentative, CYA tone common to corporate BS rather than anything like a frank assessment of what has happened.  This blurb is about as clear as any statement I have seen so far:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. 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. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

Out of an abundance of caution?  This isn’t an advisory suggesting one wear both a belt and suspenders.  This is people’s financial information.

Not to pick on the Japanese, but we’ve seen how reluctant large Japanese corporations are to tell their customers bad news.  We saw how Toyota behaved last year which was followed up by TEPCO’s closed mouth approach to the information after the Tohoku earthquake, both of which potentially put people’s lives at risk.

So I suppose it is no surprise that Sony is dragging its feet when it is just your credit card information that might have been stolen.

As noted elsewhere, It is better to be safe than Sony.

Personally though, the melt down of the PSN has had little impact on the PlayStation 3 usage at our home.

We are still able to stream Netflix through the PS3, which is the unit’s primary function in our household.

Sony tries to make you log into the PSN when you use the Netflix streaming application.  However, once it fails a couple of times, it gives up and then Netflix runs just fine.

Go Netflix!  Way to look good!

We are also able to watch Blu-Ray and DVD movies through the unit.  In the Blu-Ray version of The Sound of Music, the hills do genuinely seem alive on our TV.

Even our gaming was undisturbed.  The Easter Bunny brought us a copy of Little Big Planet, which not only ran just fine, but which updated without a hitch, all without the PSN being active.

It is enough for us to wonder what the PSN is for, aside from distributing our personal data to hackers.  And I hadn’t even had time to enter a credit card number, so it is just personal data about me that hackers have.

Granted, we do not yet play any games that require the PSN for connectivity.  I had no plans to bother with DC Universe Online and my daughter was done with Free Realms in less time than it took to download it.  But I am sure many people miss being able to connect to those games and many more.

So I suppose we are lucky.  We are largely unaffected.

But on my list of things to do, subscribing to the PlayStation Plus program now falls somewhere behind changing my birth date.

Comments»

1. smakendahed - April 27, 2011

Netflix: http://www.readwriteweb.com/cloud/2010/12/chaos-monkey-how-netflix-uses.php

“It is enough for us to wonder what the PSN is for, aside from distributing our personal data to hackers.”

Nice.

I’ve had the PS3 for years and I’m pretty sure the only thing I’ve used the PSN for was downloading some Guitar Hero 3 songs that were free. Mainly the Blizzard one with the Murlocs. I love me some murloc gurgling (more importantly, the kids did too).

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2. sente - April 27, 2011

While I have entered credit card info into the PSN the current information they have is for a credit card that was cancelled some time ago (not related to this incident).

I do have programs that would like me to be logged in to PSN, but they typically run fine without also – they will just not upload whatever trophies etc that any program reports for everyone to see.

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3. Wilhelm Arcturus - April 27, 2011

Nice link about Netflix and Chaos Monkey.

And in the “off timing” category, 30 minutes after I wrote this, I got the notification from Sony about the security breach, including the verbiage I quoted above.

The notification reminded me that I created a new email address just for the PS3 as I was interested to see how far and wide Sony would distribute that address. Now I suppose I’ll have a pretty good idea where any phishing attempts will show up.

And having spent some time dealing with PCI Compliance certification, I am appalled that Sony didn’t bother to encrypt sensitive data in the database.

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4. Luk - April 27, 2011

I did not know that Netflix will work on PS3 without loggin into PSN. When PSN is down or not responding PS3 will keep complaining about it and not let me do much networking. I wonder how many times I have to try before it gives up and let me use Netflix. This hacking crap and not being able to use Netflix made me start to look at Apple TV and Roku, which have their own methods of control so there is just no way to win this one.

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5. Xyd - April 28, 2011

“In the Blu-Ray version of The Sound of Music”

Ack! Is this some new modern punishment for young kids?

The only thing I use PSN for is Black Ops online play, which is 97% of what I do on PS3 today. (Well, that statistic is as of last week. Now 97% of what I do is attempt to sign-in to PSN to see if it’s up.)

The good news is PSN being down gives me more opportunity to catch up on TiVo’ed sitcoms. Boy, Two And A Half Men seems to have ended kinda abruptly…

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6. Wilhelm Arcturus - April 28, 2011

@Xyd – My daughter is singing “My Favorite Things” in choir, plus my wife is a fan of the only two decent Julie Andrews starring roles, “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins.” Without those two, she’d simply be remembered as Dudley Moore’s girlfriend in “Arthur.”

The movie does run a bit long. As I pointed out to my wife, the movie is so long that they sing all of the songs at least twice.

Missed that whole Charlie Sheen thing, did we?

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