Epsilon & PlayStation Network Security Recommendations

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I amongst the 70 million have been effected by the PlayStation Network hack that took place between April 17th and April 19th. While there isn’t much we can do right now there are some steps you may want to consider taking to protect your own security and financial well being. I’m sure some would like to think they are extreme but after the security breach with ¬†Epsilon recently and now this there is no good reason to take chances.

I will state clearly I am not an information security professional. I have however been working in the Information Technology industry for 13(going on 14) years. I’ve suffered similar security breaches before and I’ve heard of them happening many times before. I am also a member of the US Military who under goes security briefings anually on protection of data and while deployed served my section as the Information Management Officer. While my primary role is not information security I have enough experience to know that the bottom line is that information security is every ones problem. What follows are some recommendations. Some vital, some, may be only if you are paranoid.

First and fore most purchases online can only be made if all the pieces of information line up. Your online account information(username & password), your card/account number, your PII or Personally Identifiable Information, and typically a physical marker for your card(that 3 digit number on the back). So your first line of defense against security breaches that have all ready taken place is to change as much of this information as possible.
The easiest of course is your username and password on sites that contain financial information. That’s Amazon, Ebay, Newegg and any other online retailers. Thats service sites like playstation, xbox, netflix, redbox etc. If you can change both your username and password then go for it. The absolute “must change” is your password.

While you can’t change where you live you can change your card number and the three digit code on the back. In other words go to your bank, talk to them, cancel your card and get a new one issued. While it isn’t a comfortable process it is a fairly easy one. Some banks will even let you do this process online. I mentioned briefly your address which you may be able to change through the post office box service at your local post office. Be sure to do some research before going this route because some services will not let you use P.O. Boxes as your personal address. Lastly, and most drematicly is to change your PII or personally identifiable information. This includes your name, social security number and other bits of information like your drivers license number. These are much harder to change. Changing your name will involve both the state and fedral government. Like wise changing your social security number(this is especially hard to do). I don’t recommend going to this length but if you are really that paranoid it can be done. I can’t outline here how to do it as the process will differ from state to state.

These changes should be more than enough to safe guard your security. When changing username and password ensure you use good security practices like long complicated passwords. If you can come up with something you can remember and don’t write it down. Change your passwords frequently, every couple of months at minimum. Last, keep an eye on your accounts. Know whats going on with them. If anything looks suspicious report it to your financial institution immediately.

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