Sony PSN hack: what you can and can't do
27th Apr 2011 | 12:47
How to tackle the PlayStation Network data breach
Sony PSN hack: what you can and can't do
Not only has the Japanese government condemned the data breach, as well as an American senator, most security experts are telling users to take precautions with their banks - as their credit card details could already be in the hands of scammers.
There's a lot of confusion surrounding the data breach so here is TechRadar's guide to what you can (and can't) do in the face of the PSN hack to make sure your details are safe.
PSN hack: What you you CAN do
1. Keep an eye on your bank account
Now is the time to monitor your bank account and make sure that no dodgy transactions are taking place.
Sony may be unclear if your credit card details have been taken, but you can do no worse than contacting your bank to make sure that money isn't being taken out to pay for someone's holiday in Jamaica.
2. Watch for spam
We all get email spam but if the account you used to sign up to the PSN with starts filling up with phishing emails asking for your account details, then crank up the filter as it's more than likely your email address has got into the wrong hands.
Sony has already said that it will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information - so don't reply to any Sony-related emails if they start coming in.
3. Change passwords that are the same as your PSN one
If you are anything like the majority of people, then you will be using the same password for many of your sites.
Once that password is out, fraudsters will be able to get into your other accounts that use the same password, such as Facebook, Twitter and your online shopping sites.
If you don't know how to create a password that recognisable but not 12345, then check out Sophos' decent how-to video below.
4. Listen to the experts - act now
Graham Cluely from Sophos has been very vocal about the PSN hack and has come to the conclusion the breach is serious.
We would follow Cluely's advice. He said about the hack: "The fraudsters won't wait around - for them this is a treasure trove ripe for exploiting. You need to act now to minimise the chances that your identity and bank account become casualties following this hack.
"That means, changing your online passwords (especially if you use the same password on other sites), and considering whether it would be prudent to inform your bank that as far as you're concerned your credit card is now compromised."
Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Software, also gave the following warning: "It's crucial that access [to the PSN] is restored as soon as possible so that users can confirm what information might have been compromised."
5. Buy an Xbox
Yes, we're joking but what's the betting Microsoft is rubbing its hands in delight at the fact that some users burnt by Sony will defect to the Xbox 360.
PSN hack: What you can't do
Here's the big problem: with the PSN down, there are a number of things that you just can't find out…
1. Know if you account is affected
The main problem with Sony's statement was that it was a sweeping one, which addressed 77 million people. There was no get out of jail card for the UK, Japan etc… at the moment, and until Sony updates, all PSN users are affected and have been for a week.
2. Change your PSN password
All PlayStation Users would love to get into their account and change their passwords but they can't as Sony has put the PSN on lockdown.
It may be closing the stable door once the horse has bolted, but the mere fact you can't change your password at the moment is worrying. And what's even more worrying is that when the PSN does come back online, it may crash with everyone trying to amend their accounts.
3. Find out what credit card you used for PSN
The PSN has been around since 2007 (in the UK, since November 2006 in Japan), which means some users will have no idea which card they have linked to the PSN. This is a bit of a nightmare, considering you would want to know which card you need to keep an eye on.
Until the PSN is back up and running there is no way to see which card you have on your account - unless you want to trawl through months of statements to see which account that last SingStar micropayment came from.
4. Change your gamer tag
If someone has stolen your PSN identity, then the first thing you would want to do is change it enough so that you claim it back. One of the best ways to do this is change your gamer tag.
Unfortunately, with the PSN down this is impossible to do. With this in mind, it is recommended you change any tags that are the same as your gamer one. So if your Twitter identity is the same as your PSN one, then it's best to think another one up pretty quick.
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