What To Do if my Playstation Account is Hacked - Complete Guide

The PlayStation console (as we all know) is quite possibly the greatest creation humanity has achieved in our brief time on this Earth. The jury is still out on whether or not any vaccines, medical breakthroughs, or space worthy craft get the spot, but I’m confident that PlayStation will get the top honors.

The system may be just about perfect, but our species is about as far from perfect as you can get. Case and point: the PlayStation Network and its individual users have been attacked by hackers out there trying to steal information. Once they have this info, they can clean out your bank accounts, compromise your account, and potentially run off with all of your purchased game downloads and DLC.

PSN Hacked

Image via PlayStationInfo

It’s not fun, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hackers won’t stop at simply ripping your PSN account from you, they’ll go after everything you know and love. They’re like the mafiosos of the 21st century, only they don’t have the gall to do it to your face.

Today I’m going to give you some tips and best practices to use if this happens to you. Then, I’m going to walk you through one of the largest breaches of security in history. After that I’ll give you a real world story from a more recent time, and finally, I’ll help you guard yourself against this starting today. Let’s begin.

You’ve Just Been Hacked. What Do You Do?

Assuming your PSN is tied to your main email (it should be, but we’ll cover that later) then you’ll receive a notification that money has been spent spent on your account, or that something has been modified. The second you see this, time becomes your greatest asset.

Here are some crucial steps to take immediately:

  • 1. Change your password for PSN to something entirely different. You can do so by clicking this link and logging into your account. From there you can change the password online.
  • Enable 2 Step Verification for much added security: .playstation.com/en-us/account-security/2-step-verification/. Once this is enabled, you will be given a randomly generated code on your phone whenever you login. This includes checking your account on PS4, PC, or on your phone. Even if someone gets your password, this code will be required to finish the login, thus stopping hackers from getting through. If you get a code without logging in first, then you know someone has tried to get into your account and it's time to change passwords.
  • 2. Remove any and all credit cards tied to your account. This can also be done by logging in at the link above and going to your account settings.
  • 3. If you are locked out of your PSN for any reason, contact Sony customer support IMMEDIATELY. This link will show you all of the options for contacting them. You can do so via the phone number, online chat, Twitter account, or the forums which are all available at varying times of day.
  • 4. As an additional precaution, you should also change the passwords of any other websites where you use that same password or something similar. This will help decrease the chances that your information is used elsewhere.
  • That’s the quick rundown of what you should do when it does happen. You may be wondering if situations like this have been an issue in the past. The sad truth is yes, these things do happen. Let’s explore similar situations and how they were resolved before finally giving you the tools and tips you need to protect yourself.

    The PSN Security Breach of 2011

    This event is widely regarded as one of the worst data security breaches in history. Over 77 million PlayStation Network accounts were compromised when hackers breached Sony’s servers via their Qriocity services. During this time, the PSP and the PS3 were the top dogs, and it was those users who were breached during this attack.

    The attack happened between April 17th and April 19th of 2011. On the 20th, Sony was forced to shut down the PSN. Shortly thereafter, they confirmed that 77 million accounts had “personally identifiable information” exposed. We’re talking names, addresses, birth dates, credit cards, passwords, everything.

    Sony spent plenty of money getting things back up and running, and when people came back, they were required to download new firmware in addition to changing their password. Compensation was offered and since this major attack, there haven’t been any serious breaches in the security.

    That doesn’t mean everyone is safe though. Sony learned from their mistakes, but hackers are always learning to circumvent even the highest levels of security. Let’s fast forward to 2015 and take a look at how this problems is far from being solved.

    The Story of Kadjar and His PSN Account

    Kadjar is a PSN user who suffered from a horrific PSN account hack in the beginning of 2015. The story was told in great detail via post on Reddit that explains the journey from the moment of the hack until now.

    The story began when Kadjar discovered that over $600 in charges had been made using the PSN account. When Kadjar contacted Sony, he/she was told that they could only refund up to $150. If Kadjar were to contact the bank, any backcharges to Sony would result in the account being banned for fraud.

    This particular hacker was able to deactivate Kadjar’s account and activate it on their system. Customer support only allows for an account to be activated once every six months. At this point, Kadjar was essentially left without any options.

    Upon going to the Twitter account, Kadjar was advised to try the chat, but the answers were still the same. Meanwhile, Reddit users were offering to gift Kadjar credit/games but Kadjar politely declined saying “It’s nice to remember how many good people there are out there. I make a decent living, though, and I’ll be able to take care of this either way. My goal here is to bring attention to a few of Sony’s bad customer service policies in the hopes that they’ll change them, and to encourage them to add more security measures to PSN.”

    Kadjar received messages advising him/her to post on the support forums for additional help. The situation exploded in popularity as people rallied to see Kadjar’s situation resolved. Eventually, Kadjar received a call from an Escalation Analyst at Sony who informed him/her that they were performing an investigation into the situation.

    They were able to trace the hacker’s IP address to somewhere in Europe and confirmed the hack. The situation was resolved, and Kadjar was overjoyed to see people taking a stand and performing measures to protect their individual accounts. Kadjar was also informed that Sony HQ was made aware of the situation, which will hopefully result in a change to their policies.

    Kadjar was in good spirits at the end of it all, saying “I don’t think Sony is malicious or evil. They’re a big company with millions of customers and employees, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.”

    A fair point, but this story is a reminder that people have power over situations like this when they work together. It is also a great excuse to beef up your online security so something like this doesn’t happen to you. Let’s find out how to make that happen, shall we?

    Tips and Best Practices For Online Security

    As you can see, anyone can be hacked, which means steps should be taken to ensure it doesn’t happen to you. Here are some tips and best practices you can implement TODAY to help you lower your chances of being exposed to this kind of situation:

  • 1. Keep Your Personal Information Private - Don’t post information like your birthdate, your family member’s names, your high school, or anything like that on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social site. This information is often used for security questions which could help hackers get into your account easier.
  • 2. Use More Than One Email Account - Don’t use one email account for everything you do. Have different ones for banking, shopping, and so on. Have a different password for each one as well. Use 2 step verification security measures when possible which are fairly easy to setup.
  • 3. Shop Online With Prepaid Cards - You can purchase gift cards for PSN or prepaid Visa cards to use when shopping online. If these get hacked, you won’t lose any money from your personal accounts or credit cards.
  • 4. Password Protect Your Cell Phone - If someone gets your phone, make sure they can’t get in by protecting it with a password.
  • 5. Use Special Characters Whenever Possible - Whether it’s a password or the answer to a security question, use special characters like “!”, “@”, “#”, “&”, “_”, “-”, “?” and so on. These will make it harder for someone to guess your password.
  • 6. Monitor Your Emails/Accounts - As I said earlier, your PSN should be linked to an email you check frequently. That way, if something does happen, you can act quickly before too much damage is done.
  • Final Thoughts

    No one wants to go through a situation like this, but hackers are both smart and relentless. By using this tips and learning from the problems that have happened in the past, you can better protect yourself and hopefully never have to deal with this kind of issue.

    Have you ever been hacked? What tips would you offer your fellow gamers? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article so others can learn how to protect themselves and their PSN accounts.

    Article by - Bradley Ramsey
    Insert date: 4/9/15

    Tags: 

    Comments

    psn hacked

    I gave a "friend" my own details for ps4 and it won't let me go back on it I presume he's chances something I need help!!!

    PSN HACKED

    The same thing just happened to me I gave my friend my account and now he's locked me out and probably going to steal money.

    You guys must use the term

    You guys must use the term friend loosely. I think this post is about people who lose their accounts unwillingly not those who give them away

    Account hacked

    So, my husband sold my PS3 to a game store when he bought me my PS4. He did not however erase all of my info from the hard drive. I didn't know this at the time and went ahead and set up my account on my PS4. Almost a year went by with nothing untoward happening. I stopped playing my PS4 for a few months because I was too busy. I go to log back on and my avatar has been changed, my password, etc... Luckily I did not have any cc info saved on either console. I changed my password through the forgot password option. While doing all this on my computer I noticed that there was an active PS3 listed under my account. I am guessing this is how my account was "hacked". I figured with a new password I'd be fine. I played for a few months with no issue. Then I log on today to purchase a new game. When I try to confirm purchase it says my password is wrong. I then notice my avatar is different again and there are trophies for games being played that I did not play, recently too. Somehow this same person hacked my account again, if the first time was a true hack at all. I don't know how they guessed my password, it was super crazy. I called Sony and they had me change my password and deactivate my account. My question is, can I re-activate my account safely or should I start a new account? Can I even start a new account. I don't care about losing my old account. I only have one digital game that I bought on the account anyways. Thanks for any advice.

    hacked

    and also my call duty have a pause button on it what should i do? and also fix my ps4 cause got hacked and pay 400 bucks on these ps4 60 400 on my game.

    No clue how it was hacked

    My PS4 was suddenly deactivated and the deactivate all feature on the website was supposedly used so I can't use it for 6 months. The odd part is that I don't share the account with anyone, this is the only Playstation I've owned since the original PS1 console, and the user id and password is not a normal combination that I use. Someone had to have either used a bug with the deactivate/activate process or has managed to get every user ID and password I use and tried different combinations. This is exactly why I don't use a credit card on consoles. I buy the gift cards on Amazon or at a store and just put funds in my wallet.

    got hacked

    my account just got hacked this morning, fortunately i don't store my credit card detail in it. however the hacker spent all the money I had (GBP 18) in my wallet to purchased games. informed sony about this and request refund on the purchased as it wasnt made by me. probably i won't get the refund but worth to try.

    hacked account

    my account got hcked too, no idea how. i tried to recover new password to the email but i found out that my email password got changed too. since my email password and psn password are the same. good thing i have a back up email, so i recovered my email and psn eventually. the thing is no damage has been done. who ever did this only changed passwords and shelved the account (maybe they're hacking multiple acounts and sell them later) i don't have any bank info in the account just a couple of games bought. it was a casual account that i dont use often.

    Ps4 Access

    I gave a friend access to my account and didn't change the password after. Someone went in and reset my COD after I logged 186 hours. Obviously they were jealous. Is there any other way I can find a path to who, how and when this occurred? Thanks.

    Ps4 Hacked

    My Ps4 was hacked less than 4weeks after buying it, Paypal were great and refunded my money within the hour but Sony banned me so I can't use live support and they don't respond to emails so I'm left with a £350 bricked console through no fault of my own.

    Hacked

    I too was hacked a few weeks ago. I noticed that my console wasn't activated as my primary console (Which it always was before this happened). From what I can confirm, this person only downloaded 2 seasons of powers the TV show. My password was not changed nor was anything purchased. I only have 2 digital games (the last if us and minecraft) every other game is a disk copy.this dude is a special kind of hacker I guess. To this day my account along with 12 months of playstation plus is still being help hostage until February 2017 as I was told by psn reps. ; (

    Similar hacking

    Hello! My pns account was also deactivated off my PS4 this morning after it being fine last night. Woke up to see that two seasons of that powers show had been watched. Any more information on what happened with your situation?

    GTA5

    some one changed my password and email on it so i cant sign on my accounts name is Crz_Coupled079 and he did it while i was playing gta 5 online there names are thug_2005 an stewartsabril14 and it wonf let me sign in and i am pissed off at my 18 year son for play gta 5 and not to trust hackers

    hacked

    it wont let me sign in some one has changed my password and email and i know how they are there names are thug_2005 and stewartsbril14 all they have done is deleted all my zombie maps and i have waster $220 one the maps and psn live it wont run out until june the 29th and all i want to do is play and my mum is pissed at me cause she has used her email and password

    Hacked

    I literally was just playing my game when i got an email i changed my password (No one knows my psn password) so I went to change it and they changed my DOB so I couldn't change my password. Got off the game and it logged me out, tried to find support number and chat number to find out it was closed at like 8pm-10pm (it was 1:30am). And I've been on the call support now for 15 minutes (The next day) and I hope they can help me.

    Hacked

    Today i got hacked. I got a email from PlayStation that Said that i have changed My email. And i havent Done it. So now i cant log in to My psn account! And today the support is closed. Can anyone help me? What can i do today?

    hacked

    this just happened to me and of course the customer service isnt open on weekends and it is also a long weekend. is there an alternative. i cant do anything ive been locked out of my account

    hacked

    i tried to get free psn codes and i told this hacker my info but he got to my email i fix that but now i have to fix my ps4 email because its said not valid

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