How will the Playstation Network Security Breach Influence Consumer Confidence?

As most of you have probably already heard, PlayStation Network was hacked earlier this week leaking user information from 77 million people. I am a member of PlayStation Network and shortly after the security breach I received an email stating

As most of you have probably already heard, PlayStation Network was hacked earlier this week leaking user information from 77 million people. I am a member of PlayStation Network and shortly after the security breach I received an email stating that my personal information, including my credit card number, has been compromised. I will paste a copy of the email at the end of this post.

Although it is still yet to be seen how the situation turns out, it does make me wonder what other services I’m a member of that are not up to par in terms of security. In today’s world, people are making online purchases regularly, using their social security number for online credit reports and giving out answers to security questions at a moments notice.

Do you remember when the internet first came out?

I was still very young at that time but I strongly remember how adamant my parents were about not giving away personal information online. They used to tell me to never give out a credit card number to make an online purchase. That lasted for 2 or 3 years until Paypal came out and people started to realize that many companies selling products online were legitimate companies that were not trying to steal credit card information. E-commerce began!

Since the mid-nineties people have become more and more comfortable in giving out personal information online. In the back of our heads we know that there are certain risks being taken when we use our credit card to make an online purchase but, after all, there are millions of legitimate online purchases made every day!

The Playstation Network debacle was bound to happen at one point or another. If it wasn’t Playstation it would have been someone else.

The real question to be asked is, “How will this effect consumers’ willingness to give away personal information?“.

Will you be just as willing to give out your credit card information now as you were a month ago? One thing I strongly recommend is that, if you do give out your credit card information, don’t allow the company to store that information for use later. When making online transactions, most companies give you this option and, trust me, it may take a few more minutes to enter your credit card information a second time, but that may save you a helluva lot of headaches down the road.

If there is any good that has come out of this situation, it is that companies will now open their eyes and reevaluate the security measures they are currently using. I don’t think XBox Live is going to take any chances with their security methods after seeing the blunder that Playstation Network has made. Security will improve, that is for sure.

How much damage has already been done though? Would you give you information to Playstation Network again? How many other online companies and services are storing your credit card information?

These are all questions that we should have been thinking about all along but sometimes it takes an accident such as the Playstation Network security breach to put things into perspective.

I want to know what you think! Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments section below.

As I promised, here is a copy of the email I received from Playstation regarding the security breach:


“Valued PlayStation(R)Network/Qriocity Customer:

We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011,
certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account
information was compromised in connection with an illegal and
unauthorized intrusion into our network. In response to this
intrusion, we have:

1) Temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services;

2) Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full
and complete investigation into what happened; and

3) Quickly taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our
network infrastructure by rebuilding our system to provide you
with greater protection of your personal information.

We greatly appreciate your patience, understanding and goodwill
as we do whatever it takes to resolve these issues as quickly and
efficiently as practicable.

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident,
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. While there is no evidence at this time that credit
card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have
provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity,
out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit
card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have
been obtained.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email,
telephone and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive
information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email,
asking for your credit card number, social security number or other
personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information,
you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation
Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that
you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation
Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or
accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them as well.

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. We are providing the following information
for those who wish to consider it:
– U.S. residents are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually
from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order your free credit report,
visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free (877) 322-8228.

– We have also provided names and contact information for the three major U.S.
credit bureaus below. At no charge, U.S. residents can have these credit bureaus
place a “fraud alert” on your file that alerts creditors to take additional steps
to verify your identity prior to granting credit in your name. This service can
make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name. Note, however,
that because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you,
it also may delay your ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies your
identity. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others
are notified to place fraud alerts on your file. Should you wish to place a
fraud alert, or should you have any questions regarding your credit report,
please contact any one of the agencies listed below:

Experian: 888-397-3742; www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Equifax: 800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
TransUnion: 800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division,
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

– You may wish to visit the website of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at
www.consumer.gov/idtheft or reach the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or 600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580 for further information about how to protect
yourself from identity theft. Your state Attorney General may also have advice
on preventing identity theft, and you should report instances of known or
suspected identity theft to law enforcement, your State Attorney General,
and the FTC. For North Carolina residents, the Attorney General can be
contacted at 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-9001; telephone
(877) 566-7226; or www.ncdoj.gov. For Maryland residents, the Attorney
General can be contacted at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202;
telephone: (888) 743-0023; or www.oag.state.md.us.

We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this
incident, and we regret any inconvenience. Our teams are working around the
clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible. Sony takes
information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that
additional measures are taken to protect personally identifiable information.
Providing quality and secure entertainment services to our customers is
our utmost priority. Please contact us at 1-800-345-7669 should you have any
additional questions.

Sincerely,

Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment”

Anson Alexander

Anson Alexander is a blogger, author, SEO expert, teacher, and tech geek. As the founder of AnsonAlex.com, Anson works full time writing, editing, and producing content for his site and providing technical and business services to clients. He has a BS in international business and information systems from the University of Tampa. In his free time, Anson plays video games, enjoys nature, spends time at the beach, and loves to travel.

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