A recent article in AdAge discusses the PlayStation Network's recent woes. The network suffered a week long power outage before announcing that hackers bypassed security to obtain information on the Network's subscribers. More specifically, Sony executives acknowledge that hackers obtained access to the name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birth date, PlayStation Network password and login, and handle/online ID. Moreover, Sony still cannot confirm whether the hackers obtained credit card data, but executives admitted that they "cannot rule out the possibility," noting that users should "remain vigilant" in monitoring their account statements and credit reports. The fact that it took Sony six days to announce the breach suggests that the company is having a difficult time obtaining a complete grasp on the extent of the breach, the data that has been compromised and its potential legal exposure. Gaming networks have advanced as rapidly as gaming consoles and are no longer limited to allowing gamers to play in groups online.
The PlayStation Network allows users to purchase and download high definition movies, TV shows and TV series, as well as purchase games and other online content. As a consumer who incorporates a PlayStation 3 into my family's entertainment system, I can attest to the fact that the Network offers, if not encourages, to store a user's credit card data to streamline the purchase process. Knowing that such data is stored on the Network should trigger a heightened duty of protection. Time will tell whether credit card data was compromised during the breach and, if so, the ramifications for Sony.