Sony may have sustained the largest cyber intrusion since the Heartland Payment Systems breach, disclosing on Tuesday that its PlayStation Network (PSN) was hacked to steal sensitive information belonging to users.
Attackers stole personal data belonging to PSN and Qriocity's users between 17th and 19th April, Patrick Seybold, a PlayStation spokesman, said in a blog post on Tuesday. Qriocity is Sony's music, games, book and video on-demand service.
Roughly 77 million users are registered with PSN and Qriocity.
Compromised assets include names, physical addresses, email addresses, birth dates and PSN/Qriocity credentials, Seybold said. The hackers also may have obtained purchase histories, billing addresses and password challenge answers.
"While there is no evidence that credit card data was taken at this time, we cannot rule out the possibility," he wrote. "If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, to be on the safe side, we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration data may also have been obtained."
Seybold alluded to the possibility that the hackers may use the data they obtained to conduct phishing scams that attempt to dupe victims into giving up more sensitive information, such as credit card, social security or tax identification numbers.
"If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking," Seybold wrote.
Tuesday's revelation sheds light on why PSN and Qriocity services have been offline for roughly a week.
"Our efforts to resolve this matter involve rebuilding our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure," Seybold wrote in a separate blog post on Saturday. "Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security."
He did not say how the hackers got in.