How to Protect Your Identity from PlayStation Network Hackers
By Cesar Ortiz- (Article first published on Yahoo! Contributors/ABC News) This article still applies because hackers wait a long time to act, sometimes years, giving users time to forget to take measures against the original hack on April 27, 2011, As Sony finally broke the silence on why its PlayStation Network had been down for a week, new questions arise regarding the potential damage to the 70 million users. The illegal, unauthorized intrusion compromised members' real name, complete address, birth date, email, Network ID, password, user handle and security question/answer. All the personal, identifiable data previously mentioned has been breached and, as a matter of fact, confirmed by Sony. Sony warns that, at this time, the credit card names, billing addresses, card numbers and the expiration dates may have also been breached, but the company does not know that information presently.
The Sony PlayStation Network had been in several previous hacker-related incidents, none as serious as this one. Some facts come to light; the site was down for a week without anyone being told that it had been hacked and personal data had been compromised. This gave Sony and forensic criminal investigators time to research, detect and perhaps apprehend the criminal(s), but at the same time left member identities in a compromised mode for a week, and, worse, without the users' knowledge. It all now depends on what the hacker(s) has done with the stolen data.
Sony itself, in a blog post, warns users to prepare for a worst-case scenario. That's the same thing I advise my readers. If you are or know someone who is a member of the PlayStation Network, even if you have not used your account but provided the credit information, we recommend that you take the following steps immediately:
(1) If you are using the same PlayStation Network password and security question/answer at other websites or offline places, including banking outlets, change it.
(2) Be extremely careful when opening emails and clicking links in emails, Facebook or Twitter messages related to this breach; they may be a malicious scam.
(3) Monitor your bank account regularly
(4) If in the United States, consider using one of the free alert services provided by Expedia, Trans Union or Equifax. See the Sony blog post for phone numbers and email addresses.
Cybercriminals wait a reasonable amount of time before they begin to scam the victims using stolen personal information. That period of time may tend to make potential victims forget about the event.
Don't expect lots of online purchases, purchases by phone and scam emails to flow immediately. When the time comes, those who did not change their passwords, monitor their bank accounts and stay alert to email scams will be the victims.