Sony PlayStation Network user? Here's what you need to do

It took Sony a staggering six days for Sony to notice (or admit) that its PlayStation Network online portal had been hacked, exposing the personal data of users. In one of the biggest PR blunders for a big tech brand that we've seen for some time, Sony has admitted that the security breach of both its PSN and Qriocity services means that users' credit card details, addresses, phone numbers and even dates of birth have potentially been exposed to fraudsters.

It's an almighty balls-up, whichever way you look at it, but if you're one of the 77million PSN users around the world, then there's a very real risk to your personal data. So, what should you do? Read on to find out.

Change your passwords

Currently, PSN is still down while Sony boffins frantically try to patch up the security leak and get things back online. That means you won't be able to change your PSN password until things are up and running again. However, if you use the same login ID or password for any other gaming accounts, email, banking or any other online services, then it's probably a good idea to change them as soon as you can to ensure that no pesky fraudsters can get into any of your accounts. It's worth checking out our guide on creating a super secure password. Once PSN is back online, change your password there too (we'd be very surprised if the service didn't prompt you to do this automatically)

Credit cards

Make sure that you check your credit card statements for any unusual transactions and if you spot anything out of the ordinary, then then get on the blower to your credit card company straight away. If you have online banking set up for your credit card, then check your transactions as soon as you can. If you're really worried and you want to be super-vigilant, then call up your credit card company straight away and tell them that your card has been compromised.

Beware of rogue emails/phone calls

Not all fraudulent messages come in the form of an email from a stranger in Nigeria telling you that you've won a vast amount of money and that all you need to do to collect your winnings is send them your bank details. Many fraudsters now mock-up sophisticated emails that look as though they're from you own bank, so keep an eye out for any unexpected emails, particularly any that ask for personal details or account information.

Check your PSN profile

Once PSN is back online, it's worth having a quick check through your profile. Make sure that all your game data is saved as it should be, including any games that you're downloaded or anything else that you've purchased. If anything is missing, then it goes without saying that you need to get in touch with Sony immediately. The company has hinted that it may offer refunds for lost games, so make sure you speak up if anything is amiss.

Check your Xbox Live password

If you're a hardcore gamer, then you may well have an Xbox as well as a PS3. There's nothing to suggest that Xbox Live is likely to suffer the same kind of hacking that Sony has fallen prey to, but it's probably a good time to check that your password is unique, and not the same one that you use for online banking (or PSN). You can check out Microsoft's advice on keeping your Xbox Live membership safe here.

Have you had any security issues as a result of the PSN hack?



>