Consumers who use Sony Corp.'s PlayStation Network or Qriocity services may have been the victims of credit card data theft, according to a notice posted on a company website.
While there was as yet no evidence that credit card data had been taken, the possibility had not been ruled out.
"If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, 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," the company stated.
People who've used these services are advised to monitor their credit card activity and be especially alert to any email, telephone or postal solicitations that request personal or sensitive information. Users should also log on to the PlayStation Network or Qriocity service and change their password as soon as the service is fully restored. Changing any identical user names or passwords used elsewhere would also be a good precaution.
"To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports," the company said.
The population of consumers who might have been affected is neither small, nor limited to gamers. In fact, more than 75 million people use these Sony services, according to PCWorld, which explains that "the PlayStation Network is used for PlayStation 3 online gaming and sales of software to consoles and the PlayStation Portable. The Qriocity service runs on the same network infrastructure and provides audio and video to Sony consumer electronics products."
Sony is still investigating the incident, but believes an unauthorized person obtained user data, including names, cities, states, ZIP codes, countries, email addresses, birthdates, PlayStation Network-Qriocity logins and passwords, and handle-PSN online IDs. Purchase histories, the city, state and ZIP code portions of billing addresses and PlayStation Network-Qriocity password security answers also might have been accessed.
Sony has temporarily turned off these services, hired a security firm to investigate the incident and taken steps to enhance the security of the network infrastructure.
Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff