Sony’s president, chairman, and CEO, Howard Stringer, has issued letter of apology to PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and other Sony users who have been affected by the firm’s massive security breach. “Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we’ve all experienced and on fixing it,” Stringer said. “We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less.” A total of 101 million accounts across Sony’s network were compromised and 12.3 million credit card numbers were stolen by hackers. However, Stringer said that there’s currently no evidence that those numbers have been misused and that Sony has issued a $1 million identity theft insurance policy for U.S. PSN and Qriocity customers, with other regions to follow. Hit the jump for more from Stringer’s letter, including information on Sony’s “Welcome Back” package.
Sony on Wednesday responded to a congressional inquiry regarding major cyberattacks against its Qriocity, PlayStation Network, and Sony Online Entertainment businesses that leaked loads of personal information, including credit card numbers, to hackers. The hackers were able to breach Sony’s security while another group, dubbed “Anonymous” mobbed its servers with denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. “Whether those who participated in the denial of services attacks were conspirators or whether they were simply duped into providing cover for a very clever thief, we may never know,” Sony said in its letter to Congress, noting that it still has no idea who hacked its systems. A total of 101 million accounts across Sony’s multiple networks were compromised as Sony became the “victim of a very carefully planned, very professional, highly sophisticated criminal cyberattack designed to steal personal and credit card information for illegal purposes,” the company said. According to The Wall Street Journal, 12.3 million credit card numbers were stolen, 5.6 million of which belonged to users in the United States. So far Sony has not confirmed that the credit card numbers have been used illegally. The firm hopes to get its gaming networks back online as soon as possible. More →
On Tuesday, Sony issued an update explaining the recent PlayStation Network and Qriocity outages. The company said it has discovered that between April 17th and April 19th, someone broke into its network and stole user information. In an effort to stop the security breach, Sony temporarily killed access to its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, hired a security firm to investigate, and started beefing up its security measures. However, the leaked information may be alarming to PlayStation network users. Here’s part of Sony’s statement:
We believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained.
Sony said that it doesn’t think credit card data was taken, but that it will not rule out the possibility, and says that it’s possible credit card numbers – excluding the security codes – may have been obtained by the intruders. The firm advises that its customers “remain vigilant” by closely monitoring credit statements. Sony says the services will be reactivated as soon as possible and that customers can dial 1-800-345-7669 with any questions. Hit the jump for Sony’s official statement. More →
On Wednesday, Square’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the firm’s iPhone credit card reader — also supported by the iPad and iPod touch — is now available in all 235 U.S. Apple Store locations, and online, for $9.95. The mobile payment solution allows business owners to quickly charge for products and services wherever they have an iOS device and a data connection. Square accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards, and the company takes a 2.75% cut of every swipe. If you sign up for Square service online, Square says it will send you the first reader for free. More →
VeriFone’s CEO, Douglas G. Bergeron, has taken to the Internet to publicly voice his company’s concern with a mobile payments startup named Square. Via a YouTube video and an open letter, Bergeron explains that Square’s reader has a “serious security flaw” that “places consumers in dire risk.” Bergeron and VeriFone’s beef stems from the fact that Square’s reader does not utilize any type of hardware encryption schema when scanning cards. What does this mean? If you were to use a VeriFone card scanner, the information scanned off of a credit card’s magnetic stripe would be encrypted, stored, and transmitted to the desired payment agency for processing. Square’s scanners attach to the 3.5mm audio jack of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and scan/store the read credit card information in plain text — making it later viewable by a person(s) running a skimming scam. More →
Bloomberg is reporting that AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless are in talks to bring cellphone based payments to the States. Bloomberg cited, “three people with direct knowledge of the plan,” when they wrote that the three wireless vendors “may work with Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc to test a system at stores in Atlanta and three other U.S. cities that would let a consumer pay with the contactless wave of a smartphone.” Currently, Visa and MasterCard handle 82% of consumer credit card spending; a $2.45 trillion business. The reported system would see payments processed by Discover’s network (currently the fourth largest credit card network in the U.S.) and Barclays would be the bank managing the accounts. The contactless cellphone payment system is already in use in Japan and the United Kingdom. What do you think? Do you see value in a service like this, or is it more inclined to just creep you out? More →
If you use BlackBerry’s App World to download applications, updates, and regularly find new content, you’ll be pleased as punch to know that App World 2.0 has just gone live in beta form. App World 2.0 brings a number of enhancements to the app — some much needed — and even some new payment options. For starters, credit cards are now directly supported instead of having to go through PayPal, and RIM has brought along support for carrier billing. In true RIM fashion, however, this is not available now, and RIM won’t say which carriers will support it. Next up is the ability to drill down different top 25 lists, something much needed. There are now top 25 paid, free, and theme sections. Simplifying the entire user experience is BlackBerry ID, something you can probably guess. It’s a device-independent user ID, something separate from PIN mumbo jumbo, and will streamline your purchasing profile, keep track of your downloaded applications, etc. Not much of a finder/gatherer? Lastly there is QR barcode support in the new version of App World, so look for developers to start using barcodes in promotional materials, emails, really anything. It’s available now on RIM’s beta site below for download. More →
If you are not familiar with Square, it is a mobile payment service (hardware and software) that hopes to change how mobile transactions are processed. Now available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android devices, all you need to get going and accepting credit card payments is Square’s credit card reader. If you have been down the merchant account road before, you are probably asking how much the device costs, right? Square is giving out the reader, which plugs into the 3.5mm headset jack on your smartphone, for free. Their transaction rates are also pretty competitive at 2.75% of the transaction + $0.15 for all major credit cards. If you have always wanted to pay that shady guy off of Craigslist with plastic instead of paper, your dream might finally come true as this propagates throughout the wild. Check out a video of the service after the jump! More →