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More Sony bad news: Sony Online also compromised (this goes beyond the PlayStation Network)

Sony Online Entertainment was compromised as well, to the tune of another 24.6 million accounts.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

The Sony hack story just gets worse and worse. Now, in addition to the 77 million PlayStation Network accounts that were compromised, Joystiq reports that Sony Online Entertainment was compromised as well, to the tune of another 24.6 million accounts.

In addition, Joystiq reports that more than 12,000 credit card numbers were stolen.

That means that if you're a player of many popular PC online MMOs, your information has been stolen as well. SOE operates EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide, Star Wars Galaxies, Free Realms, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, and DC Universe Online.

Apparently, this is not a separate penetration. Although Sony has long maintained that there entertainment systems were separated, criminals apparently managed to exfiltrate data from both networks.

Protecting your accounts (and your virtual goods)

For consumers, there are only a few ways to protect yourselves. The first is to change all your passwords. The second is a practice I strongly recommend: check your credit card and bank balances on a daily basis.

In addition to the identity information and credit card numbers stolen (and the hassle and nightmares that will cause consumers), you may not realize it, but there's a vibrant market in virtual game goods. Since many of the SOE properties have a black market in virtual goods, if you play one of these games, you may want to take a few simple steps that may (no guarantee) protect your in-game characters.

If you'd like to know more about how the virtual goods black market works, download a free copy of my book, How To Save Jobs. There's a whole chapter devoted to outsourcing and virtual economies.

My recommendation is to go through all your in-game toons and take screenshots of their gear, inventory, gold, etc. This way, if you find you've lost some toons (or their in-game goods), you'll at least have some sort of record so you can at least petition SOE to see if they'll re-assign the items to your characters.

Webcast about how to protect yourself and your business

To learn more about how to protect your business from cyberattack, I'll be giving a free webcast on the subject next week here on ZDNet and TechRepublic. It's called Top 10 Tips To Protect Your Business Against Cyberattack. Believe it or not, this thing was scheduled way before Sony's network troubles began. That said, there will be lots of tips and techniques for keeping yourself safe. It's worth a tune-in.

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