300,000 Finns affected by PlayStation hack
In addition to personal data, credit card details of 70,000 Finns were possibly compromised; users advised to change passwords promptly if they have used the same password elsewhere
More than 300,000 Finns were among the PlayStation Network users whose personal data was compromised in connection with the illegal hacking into the online gaming network that was uncovered on Wednesday.
Around 70,000 Finnish PlayStation 3 game console users had provided the network with their credit card details.
Japanese electronics giant Sony, which manufacturers PlayStation, announced on the night before Wednesday that its network service had been hacked into a week and a half ago.
The hackers obtained the personal details, street and email addresses, plus usernames and passwords of all the 77 million people using the service.
According to the information released by Sony on Thursday, there are 330,000 PlayStation Network users in Finland. On Wednesday the exact figure was not yet known.
“There are 240,000 PS3 devices in Finland, but in many families more than one user has registered with the service”, says Antero Paljakka, Commercial Director at Interactive Finland, Nordisk Film, the company that is responsible for the distribution of PlayStation in Finland.
According to the Sony announcement, the obtained credit card details were in an encrypted format. The company is unable to tell if the thieves have managed to decipher the information. Those behind the break-in did not get hold of the cards’ security codes, however.
“So far we have not heard of any misuse of the obtained information”, Paljakka says.
Data security specialists have been baffled by the fact that Sony has not told if the obtained user passwords were in an encrypted format.
The encryption would protect correctly-prepared passwords against deciphering programmes.
Sony has urged its customers to watch out for possible contact attempts, where their social security numbers, passwords, or other information might be pried about.
According to Paljakka, Sony will send all of its online service users an email letter in English, in which the problem is explained.
The sending of such messages commenced in Europe on Wednesday.
Monitoring the bills of one’s credit card that was used when registering with the online service is also a good idea. The playstation.fi website contains information regarding the matter in Finnish.
A credit card number alone is not really of much use to the thieves, estimates director Björn Ulander from the card payment service provider Luottokunta.
As an added security measure online stores nowadays also require the card’s 3-digit security code, which is normally beyond the reach of hackers.
Anyone who has used the same password elsewhere for access to online sites is advised to change the password promptly, particularly in the most sensitive areas of online shopping or services such as Paypal.
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