Over the past few days, and possibly even before that, it has begun to appear that Sony’s PlayStation Network has been hacked in some form, but this time limited to the UK. Reports have come in of users getting locked out of their accounts as it no longer recognises either their email address or password. Following this, large sums of money have been taken out of associated bank accounts and placed into their PlayStation Store wallets, with values in the region of £120 being claimed in some instances, according to game news channel The Know on YouTube.
This is not the same as the PSN outage back in 2011, as that took the service itself offline, and affected more than just the UK. It also included the leaking of approximately 77-million account details to malicious hackers, one of the largest data security breaches in history, and the largest breach of any gaming network ever. As a response to the 2011 incident, Sony had a sort of compensation campaign which included a choice of free games and a free 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus. This situation is nowhere near as large in scale, but the effects are still troubling, especially if you become one of the gamers affected.
A brief look at the PSN UK support account on Twitter (@AskPS_UK) shows the sheer volume of support requests that have come in regarding this matter. Whilst Sony isn’t exactly covering up the situation, they are responding to all support request and trying to fix the issue, this story has not been covered as widely as perhaps it should be. If you own either a PS4, PS3 or are one of the few PS Vita owners, I strongly urge you to change your account password as soon as possible, regardless of whether you brought consoles to university or not. If you own a PS4 you can also take an extra measure by enabling two-step verification from the settings menu. This is also possible on PS3 and Vita but can only be enabled from either a PS4 or the PlayStation website. On these older systems you will instead be shown a single-use code to enter into your password box upon login, after already entering your email and password as usual.
Confidence in Sony has been hurt in the past by such security failings, but there is still strong support from amongst consumers, as shown by the stellar sales the PS4 has enjoyed over its lifecycle so far. With the release of the PS4 Pro on the 10th of November, this hasn’t come at the best of times for Sony, but hopefully this issue will be resolved as soon as possible.