Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock – and that rock doesn’t get Wi-Fi – you’ve no doubt heard of Sony’s recent disaster. If not, here’s your crash course. About a week ago, somebody made their way into the PlayStation Network servers and caused them to go down. They’re still down, and as if that’s not bad enough, we learned just a few days ago that the culprit gained the personal information of millions of PSN users. If you’re a PSN member, this person now has your name, address, country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and your PSN online ID.

That’s just the information that we know he has.

It’s also possible he has your purchase history, billing address, and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers. And then, of course, there’s your credit card number. Sony can’t say for sure whether or not the hacker gained access to your card number, but they did release this little diddy: “Out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.”

What Do You Do?

This is a scary situation. The gaming industry has never seen a leak of this magnitude. There are definitely things you should be doing to protect yourself. While getting a new card is undoubtedly a hassle, as long as you don’t have a bunch of bills poised to take out of that card, you’ll want to call your bank and tell them it may have been compromised. If you don’t want to go that far just yet, just make sure to keep an eye on that card’s activity.

You should also check your credit report. You can check for free once a year, so head over to annualcreditreport.com to get that started.

The next important thing is to make sure your password is secure. If you use the same password for your PSN account that you use for several other sites, you need to change that up, pronto. Doubly so if you use the same username/password combo. Here is a fantastic page on what makes a good password, stressing the use of multi-word phrases. They’re both easy to remember and nigh-impossible to hack.

What’s Next?

Only time will tell. A lawsuit has already being filed by a user in Alabama and it certainly won’t be the last. You can expect a class action lawsuit or two. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut has already taken up the cause, sending a letter to Sony CEO Jack Tretton and demanding to know why Sony took so long in informing users of the breach. They claim to have not known the scope of the breach right away, but many would argue that they had an obligation to inform the users the second anything fishy happened.

Sony hopes to have certain services up and running soon, but this issue certainly isn’t going to go away. This is the biggest (and worst) thing to happen to the gaming industry in a long time and there will be hell to pay for Sony for a long time to come.

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