Security Advice for Sony PlayStation Network Customers

You likely have heard about the intrusion of Sony's PlayStation network that affects about 77 million users.

Change Passwords

If you're a PlayStation Network customer, the first thing you should do is determine if you've used the same password with other accounts. If so, change it immediately and -- this time -- use different passwords for different accounts. One way to create a password that's easy for you to remember and hard for others to guess is to create a phrase like "I met Susie Jmith in 1992" and use the initials such as ImSJi#92. Be sure to include some upper case letters and at least one symbol and number. Here are some tips for strong, secure passwords from

Check Credit Reports

This is also a good time to start checking your credit reports. In the U.S. you can get a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at

You can also place a fraud alert at the three credit bureaus:

Experian: 888-397-3742, Equifax: 800-525-6285 and TransUnion: 800-680-7289

Be Careful about Email & Phishing

Because the trove of data includes email addresses, be especially careful about any offers or alerts that may come via email. You might, for example, have a higher risk of a phishing attack where someone sends you an official looking email asking you to click on a link so you can log into a site to deal with a supposed security breach or other bogus issue. I wouldn't be surprised to see phishing attacks to appear to look as if they come from Sony.

Check Your Other Accounts

Also, the thief or thieves likely have access to the challenge questions that Sony stored on its servers which increases the risk of someone breaking into your other accounts. Check all of your online accounts frequently to be sure there is no unauthorized activity.

Talk with Your Children and Teens

Many PlayStations are used by children and teens and this breach affects any account associated with the device, including children's accounts. This is a good time to have a discussion with your children about basic security including warning them about phishing attacks and bogus email. Here are ConnectSafely's tips for smart videogaming.

For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission's page, Recover from Identity Theft.