Print 54 comment(s) - last by Moishe.. on May 2 at 4:31 PM

2.2 million users' cards are reportedly in the database

Millions of customers were shocked to hear Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (U.S.) and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (EU) had lost their personal information -- name, username, password, address, birth date, and password recovery question -- and, more importantly, that it potentially lost their credit and debit cards as well.

Sony wrote:

While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility.

It essentially then went on to tell people that they were on their own and that it was customers' own responsibility to protect themselves from credit fraud.

Now it appears the worse case scenario is indeed playing out -- according to recent forum posts, a database with "a large section of the PSN database containing complete personal details along (with credit card numbers)...are being offer (sic) up for sale."

Security researcher Kevin Stevens has witnessed malicious hackers discussing the supposed database.  He posted to Twitter, "Supposedly the hackers selling the DB says it has: fname, lnam, address, zip, country, phone, email, password, dob, ccnum, CVV2, exp date," adding, "it is not a rumor, it was a conversation on a criminal forum."

If someone gains access to this database, it would be easy to issue hundreds of millions of fraudulent charges.  Such charges can put a black mark on your credit score.

Famed hardware jailbreaker George "GeoHot" Hotz chimed in on the reports, writing, "I sure am glad I don’t have a PSN account about now."

In his blog he adds:

And to anyone who thinks I was involved in any way with this, I'm not crazy, and would prefer to not have the FBI knocking on my door. Running homebrew and exploring security on your devices is cool, hacking into someone elses server and stealing databases of user info is not cool. You make the hacking community look bad, even if it is aimed at douches like Sony.


...the fault lies with the (Sony) executives who declared a war on hackers, laughed at the idea of people penetrating the fortress that once was Sony, whined incessantly about piracy, and kept hiring more lawyers when they really needed to hire good security experts. Alienating the hacker community is not a good idea.

GeoHot, a self-admitted one-time victim of identity theft, isn't a huge fan of Sony.  He recently settled with the electronics giant in a lawsuit over his jailbreak of the PS3.  Reportedly, GeoHot essentially scored a big win with the settlement, though precise details haven't been revealed.

The attacks came soon after the settlement.  While few suspected GeoHot, some do suspect that members of the loosely organized hacker group Anonymous -- a group which supported GeoHot during the Sony legal battle (without his endorsement) -- might have been involved.

Regardless, this is bad news for Sony and worse news for its customers.  If you have a credit or debit card that you know is filed with service, you might want to talk to your bank about changing your number as soon as possible.

Comments     Threshold

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By JasonMick on 4/29/2011 9:23:06 AM , Rating: 5
I'm thinking you're correct about the attackers simply using this as blackmail or perhaps just a boasting and don't really have it.

The possibility of blackmail is very real, but Sony as much as admitted it may have lost the CC numbers, so I would still consider changing my card number just to be on the safe side. It could save you a great deal of trouble down the road for minimal effort @ present...

I know that "No evidence" doesn't mean that it wasn't compromised, and that encryption can be beaten, but I think I'll believe it when someone can get a hold of this stolen database and can confirm that it is legit.

Yep. As some pointed out, Sony's comments indicate that it used hashing to encrypt its records, but gave no indication that it was applying a salt to its hash. Without such a salt it should be well within the reach of savvy hackers to reverse the encryption.

The hackers who stole this likely have access to several unencrypted string-sets from their accounts/their friends' accounts. This would assist them in reversing the hash, if they can locate their records in the database, from what I understand...


At the end of the day who knows if this "sale" is legit or if anyone will buy it. But this is a HUGE black mark for Sony as it represents one of the most grievous violations of customers trust to date.

By MeesterNid on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
By MozeeToby on 4/29/2011 12:36:49 PM , Rating: 3
I gave an example last time this came up, but what primes when multiplied together and modded by 2^32 (Modded, if anyone doesn't know, means divide by and keep the remainder. 13 modded by 10 = 3) primes produce 1738643815? You can't just go up the list of prime numbers and divide, because you're missing the most significant digits. You have to try every possible combination until you find one that works.

Yes, yes, you can make a rainbow table; if you have the storage space you only need to do the calculations once. Even if we allow only for the first 100 primes, that still produces 9 * 10^157 rows for your DB, good luck with that.

Even if you find an answer, which isn't going to be easy, you have no guarantee that the answer you found was actually my password because the hash is non-unique. So long as everyone salts their hashes with a different salt (doesn't even have to be regularly randomized), the password that they find is useless for accessing other sites, even if the user uses that password everywhere.

By karielash on 4/29/2011 7:42:59 PM , Rating: 1

You don't have a clue.

By BigDH01 on 4/29/2011 9:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. As some pointed out, Sony's comments indicate that it used hashing to encrypt its records, but gave no indication that it was applying a salt to its hash. Without such a salt it should be well within the reach of savvy hackers to reverse the encryption.

One, CC numbers wouldn't be hashed... it would defeat the purpose. They are encrypted, but not one-way hashed. Hacker would need encryption key and method (probably 3DES). This is not easy to reverse by any means without those items.

Two, hashes are not, by any means, easy to reverse even without using a salt (as long as they are using SHA1 or better). The salt is merely there to force the hacker to look for collisions for each individual record instead of using a rainbow table.

By mcnabney on 4/29/2011 10:06:41 AM , Rating: 3
Credit card numbers are the LEAST of the worries of PSN users. I would be much more concerned if my username, email address, and PASSWORD got out, as should many people. How many other websites and accounts will users select the same email address and the same/similar password? That allows the thieves into other online sellers (like Amazon) and financial accounts (like banks and retirement accounts). Not to mention passwords also used to access systems at their employers. If I had a PSN account, I would be getting new credit card numbers and changing passwords for everywhere I have been online. A huge pain in the ass.

By MrTeal on 4/29/2011 10:30:11 AM , Rating: 5
No one should be be using universal passwords for important accounts. I have a separate PW for my two main email accounts, for my online banking, for paypal, and for eBay. Then there's a couple secondary level passwords for things that are somewhat important but that wouldn't cost me anything if they got hacked. Lastly, I have a couple generic ones for places like DT.

That's the problem with so many sites that really shouldn't require passwords doing so, and many of them requiring convoluted 8 character, mixed upper/lowercase, some special characters, etc. When sites like DT or other random forums require users to use really strong passwords, they just end up using the same password they use for their bank account. As much as they might like to think they are, most places on the internet aren't that important. :P

By callmeroy on 4/29/2011 11:59:10 AM , Rating: 2

I'll admit I do have a generic password I share with all my mundane accounts -- forums (like this and various other ones i participate in) , some free game accounts use the same passwords...but...

My banking, mortgage and retirement accounts...completely unique and a mix of upper lower case symbols and numbers...

So if someone hacks my mundane account that's just annoying there's no "real" data linked to those accounts....

If someone hacks the banking one...well then that would suck...but that's why its a strong pw and I'm fanatical about what goes on my computers and how often its scanned for malware/viruses/etc.

By morphologia on 4/30/2011 6:25:28 PM , Rating: 1
"At the end of the day who knows if this "sale" is legit or if anyone will buy it. But this is a HUGE black mark for Sony as it represents one of the most grievous violations of customers trust to date."

So, basically, "the hacker community might be lying, but let's badmouth Sony as if they were telling the truth because they're a big, evil corporation?"

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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