Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Sony halts 93,000 online accounts in new breach

VULNERABILITY:The company said a ‘small fraction’ of the accounts were accessed and some information could have been leaked, although credit card details were safe

AFP, TOKYO

Sony said yesterday it suspended 93,000 accounts on its online entertainment networks after detecting a wave of unauthorized sign-in attempts, months after a huge breach forced it to halt some services.

The attack took place between Friday last week and Monday and succeeded in matching valid sign-in IDs and passwords from about 93,000 accounts on its PlayStation Network, Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment services.

Sony said credit card details associated with those accounts were not compromised as a result of the hacking incident.

The entertainment giant has temporarily locked the accounts and said it is continuing investigations into the extent of the access attempts. It said it would notify affected account holders to advise them to reset their passwords.

A Sony spokesman said that as it moved to shut down the accounts after detecting the hacking bid, “a small fraction” of the 93,000 accounts were accessed and information such as names, birthdays and gaming achievements could have been seen.

Spokesman Sean Yoneda said the latest setback was not on the same scale as a data breach in April that compromised more than 100 million accounts and forced it to temporarily halt its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.

Following the April breach, Sony said it could not rule out that some users’ credit card information could have been compromised.

“This time nothing was taken or potentially taken from our data servers,” Yoneda said.

The latest attack saw large sets of usernames and passwords launched at Sony’s online services, with 93,000 matches confirmed. The information had been obtained through other companies, Web sites or through phishing practices, Yoneda said.

“We know for a fact that [the information] is not from our data servers,” the spokesman added.

In a statement, Sony said that “less than one tenth of one percent” of consumers across the three networks may have been affected.

The entertainment giant has been battling to restore consumer trust after April’s security problems, when it faced criticism for not disclosing the intrusion into its PlayStation Network until a week after discovering it.

However, Sony shares were higher in Tokyo trading yesterday, rising 1.40 percent.

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