Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Sony also said as many as 12,700 foreign credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates and approximately 10,700 direct debit records of customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain were stolen from what the company calls "an outdated database from 2007." The 24.6 million additional accounts hacked were Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) accounts. The company has now acknowledged information from more than 100 million of its customer accounts was stolen by hackers last month.
The Green Sheet has confirmed Sony refused a request to testify about its data breach problems before the U.S. House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee May 4. The company told the subcommittee it would not testify because of its ongoing investigations, a spokesman for the subcommittee Chair, Rep. Mary Bono-Mack, R-Calif., confirmed. The subcommittee request to testify was issued before Sony's second discovery of more compromised data.
"As we understand from Sony's statements, all facts regarding the breach are not yet known, and an internal investigation continues," Rep. Bono-Mack and Ranking Minority Member Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., wrote to Sony in their April 29 invitation to testify. "Sony's public statements suggest there is no evidence credit card data was taken, but such a scenario cannot be ruled out. Given the amount and nature of the personal information known to have been taken, the potential harm that could be caused if credit card information was also taken would be quite significant."
The committee requested Sony answer the following 13 questions:
Cort Bush, a press contact in Rep. Bono-Mack's office, confirmed the congresswoman originally gave Sony until May 6 to respond to these questions. Sony agreed to her request to push the response deadline to the morning of May 4, before the scheduled hearing. Sony agreed to provide the answers early after the company declined to testify at the hearing. Bush said Bono-Mack's office will release Sony's answers after the company responses have been reviewed.
The newly discovered SOE network hack apparently occurred at the same time as the earlier discovered data breach of 77 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity customer accounts. The break-in occurred April 16 and 17, 2011, but the SOE hack was not discovered by Sony engineers and security consultants until May 2, SOE said in a press release. The company immediately shut down all SOE servers on discovering the breach, it said. This means SOE, PSN, and Qriocity, the backbone of the Sony gaming and entertainment business, is shutdown for an unknown amount of time while the company reviews and rebuilds its security network.
Among the kinds of personal information taken during the data breach were names, addresses, email addresses, birthdates, gender, phone numbers, login names and passwords, the company said. Sony still claims it does not know if credit card information was stolen despite persistent reports that card information taken from Sony, along with card security numbers, are for sale on underground websites.
"There is no evidence that our main credit card database was compromised," SOE noted on its website May 3. "It is in a completely separate and secured environment."
The company also indicated the apparent breach of the "outdated" 2007 database netted the thieves debit card records from customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain, along with bank account numbers, customer names, account names and customer addresses.
Sony is adding 30-days' free game time to every subscription and compensating gamers one day for each day the system is down. The company is additionally working on a "make good" plan for its PlayStation 3 Massively Multiplayer Online customers. It has also promised to help customers enroll in identity theft protection services.
The company urges its customers not to respond to emails, phone calls or mail that asks for personal information even if the message appears to be from Sony. The company promises customers it will not send out any notices asking for personal information or credit card numbers. The company is further recommending changing account names and passwords on other, unrelated personal accounts.
"To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports," the company said. The company is not saying when it will have gamers back online. It will only say that online services will be restored "as soon as possible."
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