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.
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:
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:
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