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If you’re one of the 77 million registered users on Sony’s PlayStation Network, your personal and confidential information may have been compromised during a security breach. According to Sony, between April 17 and 19, they discovered an intrusion, and shut down their PlayStation Network services on the evening of April 20. They waited days before announcing the reason behind what appeared to be a network failure, stating that they first had to study it, and understand the extent of what happened.

Sony has not been very forthcoming on the extent of the compromise, citing an on-going investigation as the reason for being so tight lipped. According to the FAQ on the intrusion, they can’t tell us how it happened, why it happened, who was behind it, the extent of the intrusion, or how long it will take to restore the network services.

Regardless of Sony’s reluctance to divulge details, we do know that by April 19, Sony realised that the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services had been hacked, although the how of it all still remains unclear. More importantly, it would seem that PSN users’ personal information is at risk, including names, addresses, email addresses, birth dates and login information. If you have made any purchases using your credit card, your credit card details could also have been compromised, with the exception of your three digit secret code. Sony however has not confirmed any of these details, listing them only as possibilities.

All PSN accounts are inaccessible until Sony brings the network back up, so while you can’t change your password just yet, that is the first thing you should do the minute the network is back up. In the meantime, if you tend to use the same password on all of your accounts, it would be an advisable precaution to change passwords on any of your connected accounts, particularly your email account.

There are certain steps that you can take to protect yourself and your information in the event of another intrusion of this kind. The first rule is never to use the same password on all of your accounts. While it may be easy and convenient, it is anything but safe. If you have a hard time keeping track of all of your passwords, you can always use a password manager Password Manager Battle Royale: Who Will End Up On Top? Password Manager Battle Royale: Who Will End Up On Top? Read More to access your accounts. Another guideline to keep in mind is to make your passwords difficult to crack. Use a combination of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols, to ensure the safety of your accounts, or better yet, use a password generator 5 Free Password Generators For Nearly Unhackable Passwords 5 Free Password Generators For Nearly Unhackable Passwords Read More .

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Sony is also warning users to be on the look out for emails claiming to be from them. Don’t fall for phishing scams asking you for your Sony credentials as they have clearly announced that they will not be sending out any emails of the sort. In general, when you receive an email claiming to be from a service you use, always check the email address it came from, and avoid clicking links provided in these emails. Sony is also warning you to be wary of any telephone and postal scams asking you to reveal any personal information.

As far as your credit card information is concerned, Sony’s statement is anything but reassuring, advising you to keep an eye out for unusual transactions on your bank account.

If you’re looking for more ways to stay safe online, be sure to check out the following guides:

5 Tips and Tricks to Avoid Facebook Phishing Scams 5 Tips & Tricks To Avoid Facebook Phishing Scams 5 Tips & Tricks To Avoid Facebook Phishing Scams Read More
Get Instant Alerts Of New Computer Viruses & Phishing Emails Get Instant Alerts Of New Computer Viruses & Phishing Emails Get Instant Alerts Of New Computer Viruses & Phishing Emails Read More

Are you one of the affected Playstation Network users? Do you think Sony should been faster to announce the breach? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: Declan Jewell

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