To PlayStation or Not to PlayStation?

When I got a PlayStation 3 some months ago, Adam teased me a bit -- he's an XBOX 360 owner -- but of the big three (Wii, PlayStation and XBOX) consoles, it made the most sense to me. It was the system I had the most (albeit, still limited) familiarity with, and I could stream Netflix for free, and Hulu with a pretty cheap Hulu Plus account. Several weeks ago I noticed some issues with logging into the system, but if I mashed enough buttons on the controller, I could log in to Netflix.

On April 26, I received the following email from Hulu: "Unfortunately, due to the outage on PlayStation® Network, Hulu Plus subscribers cannot currently access the application on the PS3™. We understand this is frustrating, and we are looking forward to Sony restoring access to the application as soon as possible." They offered a 1-week credit to my account.

The next day, April 27, I got an email from the Sony PlayStation Network saying that sometime between April 17 and 19, hackers

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. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. 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.

Perhaps that "abundance of caution," is the reason it took Sony a week to shut down its network and another week after that to notify 77 million PSN subscribers of the breach. Recently, another 25 million Sony Online Entertainment subscribers were hacked, bringing the number of compromised users over 100 million.

Some 23,000 subscribers have had their credit card and bank information exposed, as well. Sony promises to have its network up and running again in the coming week, but I'm not in a hurry to start using network services no matter how much they try to sweeten the pot. On one hand, a global network that's as rich with personal information as Sony's should be expected to be a target. On the other, opting out of gaming and video streaming shouldn't be the only way to keep one's personal information safe.

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