Fewer PlayStation Network subscribers were affected than during the spring attack, Sony says

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Sony PlayStation Network hacked -- again

Sony: Breach is smaller than spring attacks that shut down its gaming network

No credit cards were accessed, company says

Users seem happier with response than they were with delays in announcing last attack

CNN  — 

Sony’s PlayStation Network, the gaming and entertainment platform knocked offline for weeks this spring, has been hit again.

In a message to members, Phillip Reitenger, Sony’s chief information security officer, said the company detected an attempt to try a massive number of user IDs and passwords on its network.

The PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment were impacted, Reitenger said.

But unlike the spring attack, when virtually every one of the PlayStation Network’s 70 million subscribers lost total access, only one-tenth of 1 percent (about 93,000 people divided between PSN and Online Entertainment) had their information accessed and were locked down, the company said.

Only a small percentage of those accounts showed suspicious activity after they were accessed, he said.

“We want to take this opportunity to remind our consumers about the increasingly common threat of fraudulent activity online, as well as the importance of having a strong password and having a username/password combination that is not associated with other online services or sites,” Reitenger wrote.

“We encourage you to choose unique, hard-to-guess passwords and always look for unusual activity in your account.”

No credit card information was accessed in the hack, according to the letter.

Network customers who were affected received an e-mail from Sony notifying them of the issue. Everyone who is affected is required by Sony to change their passwords on the network.

The PlayStation Network went down on April 20 after a Web attack on the network, which lets people download games and videos and play them with each other online. Most players couldn’t use the network for weeks and it wasn’t completely restored until the PlayStation Store went back online in early June.

A London 19-year-old allegedly affiliated with the hacker group LulzSec was arrested in late June in connection with the Sony attack. LulzSec, purportedly a spin-off of the bigger hacker collective Anonymous, posted what they claim is proprietary information from Sony Pictures and other Sony properties’ websites online.

At June’s E3 video-gaming expo, Sony Computer Entertainment of America president Jack Tretton apologized to players for the outages.

He called it the “elephant in the room” and thanked gamers for staying loyal during the down time.

“You are the lifeblood of this company. Without you there is no Playstation,” Tretton said. “I want to apologize, both personally and on behalf of the company, for any anxiety we caused you.

Many users had responded angrily in the spring, with many of their complaints centering around the week Sony took between the hack and making it known to players.

This time, comments on Reitenger’s online post seemed more positive.

“Thanks for letting everyone know so soon,” one user wrote. “It’s better to be aware.”

“This is good that your letting us know this before everyone goes in another rage,” said another.