Playstation hack hits three million Brits
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London - Millions of Britons may be issued with new credit cards over fears their banking details have been stolen by thieves hacking into the Sony PlayStation Network.
The personal information of 77 million people around the world is thought to have been compromised.
Some three-million Britons - who use the Sony system to play computer games against people in the UK and other countries - have been caught up in the biggest criminal hack on record.
The theft of data includes names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses and log-in details.
Credit card details may also have been taken. The bank industry body Financial Fraud Action UK has issued an alert to victims.
It said it was working with Sony to identify British consumers involved and set up alerts on their credit card accounts to check for unusual use or purchases.
A spokesman added that if accounts were hijacked by criminals, banks would set up new accounts and issue new cards.
He said: “The banking industry has robust processes in place to protect customers’ accounts by monitoring for suspicious transactions.”
FFA UK said there was no need for customers to contact their bank or card company at this stage. However, it added that customers should check statements and keep an eye on accounts for unusual activity.
There are concerns that many people use the same password for their Sony account as for other online activities, including banking.
FFA UK warned: “We recommend that they should change these passwords as soon as possible.
“Similarly, customers may have had their email addresses and telephone numbers compromised, so they should be wary of responding to any unsolicited emails or phone calls.”
It said innocent victims of fraud will get their money back from their bank or card company. The Information Commissioner has launched an investigation, saying it takes such incidents “extremely seriously”.
The Sony hack is the latest in a number of web security breaches to hit consumers in recent weeks. Millions of customers of Marks & Spencer, Play.com and TripAdvisor have had personal details stolen.
Sony has shut down its PlayStation Network, apologised to customers and announced an independent security review. However, many customers complained that it took a full week to reveal the extent of the breach.
HOW TO STOP THE CRIMINALS
Victims of hacking have been warned to watch out for spam emails, “spear phishing” attacks - targeted attempts to acquire confidential information - and unauthorised spending.
Spammers will send out emails which look like a genuine communication. Victims will be asked to fill in an online form.
Often spam will come with an attachment. Clicking on it will automatically download malicious software - malware - which is used to steal passwords.
The best advice when dealing with a suspect email is to delete it and never open attachments. - Daily Mail