Sony said in a blog post today that it will offer free enrollment in an identity theft protection program for all U.S. members of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services as compensation for the loss of their personal records.
The PSN online game and Qriocity entertainment service have been down for more than two weeks after hackers attacked the networks and stole personal information on more than 77 million users. Sony said it still hasn’t determined if user credit card numbers were stolen or not, but it’s possible as many as 10 million numbers were accessed.
Users haven’t been able to play online games, buy items on Sony’s digital store, or watch movies on its entertainment network. Sony didn’t say how much the program will cost, but it clearly won’t be cheap. Sony chief executive Howard Stringer just apologized to all the users as he announced the insurance protection.
In the U.S., Sony’s game division and Sony Network Entertainment International have arranged to provide identity protection at no cost from Debix, a reputable identity protection firm. Sony said it will make similar programs available in other territories where applicable. The Debix protection, dubbed AllClear ID Plus, will be in effect for 12 months.
Sony will start sending out activation emails for this program in the next few days, and users will have until June 18 to sign up and redeem the code. Users will sign up through AllClear ID, not through Sony web sites. Details will come in an email from Sony soon.
The service will offer monitoring of the internet to detect exposure of any AllClear ID Plus customer’s personal information. That includes monitoring criminal web sites and data recovered by law enforcement. The user will be alerted by phone or email if the information is found. The user will get monthly status reports too.
Priority access will be allowed for licensed private investigators and identity restoration specialists. That means that if an AllClear ID Plus member gets an alert, the customer can get priority ranking to talk with an on-staff private investigator, who can conduct an inquiry. Then the staff can take the necessary steps to restore the customer’s identity. If the user becomes a victim of identity theft, the user can file a claim on the $1 million identity theft insurance policy. Sony is still working to restore service to the network, which has been down for more than two weeks as we’ve noted in our timeline. But Sony has begun initial steps to bring back the network.
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