Okay, so you know that whole Sony PlayStation Network issue where tons of people had their private information compromised, thanks to a mysterious security breach that happened sometime between April 17 and 19?
If you're one of the 77 million users potentially affected by this, good news! Your credit card data is probably safe, thanks to the powers of encryption. According to Sony, "the entire credit card table was encrypted and we have no evidence that credit card data was taken."
The bad news? Malicious hackers might have taken your data anyway. According to Sony's doublespeak, "While all credit card information stored in our systems is encrypted and there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility."
Pretty much everything else in a user's "personal data table"—user names, passwords, birth dates, and home addresses—wasn't encrypted. Stolen information might include, among other things, payment-card data, purchase history, billing addresses, and security answers used to change passwords.
Sony has not yet addressed the status of passwords used to log in to the PlayStation Network, but it's probably safe to assume they've been breached as well. Since many people use the same password for different accounts, if you're a PlayStation Network member, it's time to start changing your login info elsewhere.
The company is advising members to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Ah, it's Epsilon all over again, isn't it?
As these types of hacks become more prevalent, it makes you wonder what we as consumers can even do to protect our privacy. Experts advise using a throw-away email account and a unique password per site, but the reality is very few people do this. Plus, that doesn't address the credit card requirements many sites have.
Wait, maybe there's more good news after all—when something like this happens, it totally opens the door for a flurry of class action lawsuits! Yay?
Were you affected by the PlayStation security breach?
Image via Flickr/Andres Rueda