Friday, May 06, 2011

Sony to offer a free year of ID theft protection in wake of PSN / Qriocity hack

We've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, as more and more damning evidence emerged (and finally admitted by Sony) that credit card numbers were accessed in the PlayStation Network (PSN) / Qriocity hack. Although Sony continues to say there is no evidence any of the stolen credit card numbers have been used fraudulently, it has finally come through and is offering its users ID theft protection.

According to a letter posted on the PlayStation Blog, written by Sony CEO, Chairman, and President Howard Stringer, Sony will provide complimentary enrollment in an identity theft protection program for PSN and Qriocity account holders in the United States (only). Due to differences between countries, Sony won't provide the same program outside the U.S., but they are working to make similar programs available.

For U.S. users, Sony has made arrangements with ID protection firm Debix to provide AllClear ID Plus protection for 12 months, free. It's unclear how much that will cost Sony, as that's not a plan offered on Debix's site (they have Free and Pro; Pro is $10 per month).

The major features in the plan include:
  • Cyber monitoring and surveillance of the Internet to detect exposure of an AllClear ID Plus customer’s personal information, including monitoring of criminal web sites and data recovered by law enforcement. If his/her personal information is found, the customer will be alerted by phone and/or email and will be provided advice and support regarding protective steps to take. The customer will also receive monthly identity status reports. Debix works with an alliance of cyber-crime experts from the government, academia and industry to provide these services.
  • Priority access to licensed private investigators and identity restoration specialists. If an AllClear ID Plus customer receives an alert, or otherwise suspects that he/she may be the victim of identity theft, the customer can speak directly, on a priority basis, with an on-staff licensed private investigator, who will conduct a comprehensive inquiry. In the case of an identity theft, the customer can work with an identity restoration specialist to contact creditors and others, and take necessary steps to restore the customer’s identity.
  • A $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user to provide additional protection in the event that an AllClear ID Plus customer becomes a victim of identity theft. This insurance would provide financial relief of up to $1 million for covered identity restoration costs, legal defense expenses, and lost wages that occur within 12 months after the stolen identity event.
As far as PSN and Qriocity themselves, Sony on May 5 said it was in the final stages of testing before bringing the network back online. They earlier promised the services would re-emerge this week.

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