by Larry Magid
You likely have heard about the intrusion of Sony’s PlayStation Network that affects about 77 million customers. In a blog post Sony said “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.” The company also said that there is a possibility that credit card information may be have been obtained as well.
If you’re a PlayStation Network customer, the first thing you should do is determine if you’ve used the same password with other accounts. If so, change it immediately and — this time — use different passwords for different accounts. One way to create a password that’s easy for you to remember and hard for others to guess is to create a phrase like “I met Susie Jmith in 1992″ and use the initials such as ImSJi#92. Be sure to include some upper case letters and at least one symbol and number. Here are some Tips for Strong, Secure Passwords from ConnectSafely.org
Check Credit Reports
This is also a good time to start checking your credit reports. In the U.S. you can get a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus atAnnualCreditReport.com.
You can also place a fraud alert at the three credit bureaus:
Be Careful about Email & Phishing
Because the trove of data includes email addresses, be especially careful about any offers or alerts that come via email. You might, for example, have a higher risk of a phishing attack where someone sends you an official looking email asking you to click on a link so you can log into a site to deal with a supposed security breach or other bogus issue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see phishing attacks to appear to look as if they come from Sony.
Check Your Other Accounts
Also, the thief or thieves likely have access to the challenge questions that Sony stored on its servers which increases the risk of someone breaking into your other accounts. Check all of your online accounts frequently to be sure there is no unauthorized activity.
Talk with Your Children and Teens
Many PlayStations are used by children and teens and this breach affects any account associated with the device, including children’s accounts. This is a good time to have a discussion with your children about basic security including warning them about phishing attacks and bogus email. Here are ConnectSafely’sTips for Smart Videogaming.
For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s page, Recover from Identity Theft