Security Hacking Stories

Unplugging did not stop them.

Are Online Gaming accounts secure?


Has the PlayStation network been breached again?


During the last two weeks of June, my family and I had taken a cruise vacation.

Before leaving, we unplugged all unnecessary electronics in our house, including gaming consoles, internet routers, laptops, and other computer hardware.  My children did not have access to these devices while we were on our vacation, including the PlayStation they use for gaming.

It came as a shock when we returned home and I surveyed my credit card statements to find not one, but two charges to my credit card by Sony’s PlayStation.

How could this be when neither the PlayStation console in my home was connected to the internet, and my children also unable to access it?

The First Hack

Four years ago, their systems were breached in a huge hacking scandal.  Over 70 million accounts were compromised in the April 2011 breach.

For some in our modern age, gaming is their livelihood.  There is money to be made from game development and competitions.  PlayStation accounts, like those of my children, have banking and payment information connected to them, as well as other personal information.

For anyone that has had to cancel banking and credit card accounts, you understand the hassle and inconvenience that it is.  The over seventy million PlayStation accounts that were once hacked had seventy million separate cases of fraud.  This means that seventy million payment accounts had to be adjusted, cancelled, and reimbursed for the attack on a network that compromised its own safety.

Of course, Sony is still compensating those affected by the PlayStation attack through free paid subscriptions, free games, and other forms of redemption.

In the week before our vacation, PlayStation was hit by a new outage. Affecting both new and old consoles, servers went down while fans waited for maintenance that was scheduled to take two hours.

In May, intermittent outages had plagued gamers, making multiplayer games and other services unreachable to those who have paid for them.

Here We Go Again?

One must ask the question: is PlayStation headed towards another security breach?  So far in the recent outages, no hacking group has taken credit for servers being down.

The charges to my credit card from the Sony group is another example of failed security from a business to their consumer.

As a business owner, the most important thing I can provide my customers is their security in my product, and their security in me.  Why would this be so difficult for other companies to achieve?

As gaming has become personal income for many, it is more important than ever that companies take better control over the confidentiality of their customers, and that their information protected.

After investing money in access to PlayStation online gaming, the console itself, and games, those who actively use the product expect their investment to be protected.

PlayStation is just one of Sony’s products that has been hacked over the years, the most recent being Sony executive’s email accounts, which exposed an enormous amount of private data about the company.

Prepare and Protect

It is essential for internet security to take steps in protecting our online banking information and our online identities from hackers.  Once you feel that your information has been breached, taking action immediately to terminate further advances on your personal life is key.

After having contacted my bank to remove the fraud charges to my account, I was told that there is a timeframe banks and banking customers must report fraudulent charges to the merchant for them to be removed.

This recent attack to my personal banking account is just one of the many that happen every day.  Although it was a huge inconvenience to me, it is important to note that there is no official word that PlayStation has been attacked again.

It is important for us as consumers to understand that we could be victims of a hack at any time of the day, and any point of our lives.

Taking extra precaution against hacking is always ideal, but we must take this precaution before being hacked.  Being proactive against your personal security will save you in the long run.


Albert E. Whale is the President and Chief Security Officer for IT Security, Inc, a security consulting company focused on the Security of the Applications, Cloud, Internet & Network based resources. IT Security, Inc. works with organizations to assess and resolve issues with their enterprises, focusing on getting security done right.

View my LinkedIn Profile or contact IT Security, Inc. directly at 412-515-3010 or http://www.IT-Security-inc.com.