Earlier this week, gigantic technology company Sony admitted that "an illegal and unauthorized person" had accessed their database of 77,000,000 PlayStation Network users, obtaining names, addresses, gaming profiles, and possibly credit card numbers. Their response upon discovering the breach was decidedly old-school: they turned everything off while investigating.
If the ESP breaches we've been reporting are Godzilla, Gamera, and other residents of Monster Island, then the PlayStation breach is the larger and more powerful MechaGodzilla. If the ESP breaches are planets in the solar system, the PlayStation breach is Jupiter — and the New York Yankees' mistaken exposure of 20,000 ticketholders is poor, downgraded Pluto.
As if size alone wasn't enough, the PlayStation breach may require an even more radical response from the victims whose information was stolen. As The Globe and Mail explained yesterday afternoon, you should start by changing your password — especially if you've used that same password anywhere else. But since Sony admits that credit card numbers might have been stolen too, you'll need to call your bank and get a new card with a new number — which some banks charge for. You'll also need to change all the billing info associated with the old card number. Oh, and if you don't want game-related spam and phishing attacks, you'll need to change your email address too.
Inconvenient? Annoying? Absolutely. Unfair? No question. But when the big companies to whom you've entrusted your information can't keep it secure, you're stuck having to find ways to stay safe on your own.
To be sure, the companies whose data was stolen (these, Sony, and more) are victims too — but they're all big enough to weather the storm. How about you?