Sony PSN hit by mass password attack

Attackers access 93,000 accounts in spite Sony’s firmware password change

Attackers using a "massive" list of sign-in IDs and password pairs successfully gained access to 93,000 accounts on Sony’s PlayStation Network, Sony Online Entertainment and Sony Entertainment Network.

The brute force password attacks ran through last Friday to Monday, according to Sony, and relied on what its executives believed were old compromised lists derived from sources other than Sony.

“In this case, given that the data tested against our network consisted of sign-in ID-password pairs, and that the overwhelming majority of the pairs resulted in failed matching attempts, it is likely the data came from another source and not from our Networks,” Philip Reitinger, Sony’s recently appointed chief information security officer, announced on the company blog.

There attackers successfully matched approximately 60,000 accounts from PSN or SEN breached and 33,000 SOE accounts.

Customers credit card details were not at risk, Sony said.

The paired ID-password attacks worked in spite of a firmware update in May that forced Sony’s PSN users to change their passwords.

One PSN user speculated this could have occurred because some PSN had not used the service since the firmware update and therefore had not changed their passwords, or that they had used the same password-ID combination on another site.

Still, the attacker’s success rate, according to Sony, was “less than one tenth of one percent” (0.1%) of its combined PSN, SEN and SOE user base.

Unlike the breach in April that affected 100 million PSN users, Sony will only be locking down the accounts of those where a successful match was made and plans to send an email prompting the user to change passwords.

Reitinger reminded affected customers of “the importance strong password and having a username/password combination that is not associated with other online services or sites.”


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