PlayStation users should contact their banks immediately.
Sony Australia has confirmed today that the personal information of all PlayStation Network account holders worldwide has fallen into the wrong hands.
All users are now at grave risk of identity theft with the hackers having access to all names, addresses, email addresses, birthdates, usernames, passwords, logins, security questions and more. The NSW Police fraud squad says this is enough information for the hackers to even take out loans on the vicitms’ behalf.
Detective Superintendant Col Dyson from the NSW Police fraud squad spoke with Brisbane Times reporter Asher Moses about the scandal. See the full story http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/digital-life/games/playstation-hacking-scandal-police-chief-says-contact-your-bank-now-20110427-1dvts.html.
Det. Sup. Dyson says those who obtained the personal information could use it to commit identity crimes.
“Personal or financial information is a valuable commodity and generally these days we find organised groups harvesting information and then selling it to other groups to use” he says.
Affected Australians are advised to consider cancelling their credit cards or at the very least call their banks to inform them that their cards may have been compromised. People should also change their passwords if they use their same PlayStation Network password for other services.
This scandal personally affects me and my family as we are one of those 77 million global users who are potentially at risk.
What worries me as much as this breach having occurred, is the length of time it has taken Sony to inform its customers. The breach occurred as early as possibly April 17. This means the hackers have had a whole week to use our information or on-sell it to professional fraudsters before we (the public) could do anything about it.
In Australia, we do not have mandatory notification laws for when data breaches occur. We are not ‘covered’ for when these instances happen and there is no obligation for companies to inform us when our personal information has been compromised.
The Federal Government must realise that Australians cannot escape being part of a global marketplace, and as such our government has an obligation to protect us from possible identity theft in that marketplace.
The Australian Crime Commission points to identity theft as being the ‘fastest growing crime in Australia’. http://www.crimecommission.gov.au/media/faq/financial_crime.htm.
It certainly feels that way on days like this.
There is more our government can do and there’s more we as a nation can do to ensure we don’t fall behind when it comes to personal information security. This includes everyone getting educated on how identity crime can potentially affect us.
Identity theft can hit twice – once when we are first scammed, then secondly when our credit files are damaged. When someone steals our identity it can often mean a series of defaults on our credit files. Defaults can ruin a credit rating for up to 5 years – so essentially we pay for 5 years for being victims of identity theft unless we go about having our credit files repaired after the damage has occurred.
Recently we worked with the Federal Police to help repair the credit file of an identity theft victim. Basically the victim was unable to obtain credit at all with those defaults on her file – even though she was not the cause of them. We eventually got the defaults removed for her, but it was a difficult process and one she said she would have found almost impossible to do on her own.
So as a PlayStation user, and realising how deep this could go, be on the lookout for scams. Be wary of any strange calls, any emails asking for confirmation of personal details and credit card details and do contact your bank immediately.
Visit www.mycra.com.au for more information on identity theft and credit files and how we can protect ourselves.