Sony Corp. said Tuesday that the credit card data of PlayStation users around the world may have been stolen in a hack that forced it to shut down its PlayStation Network for the past week, disconnecting 77 million user accounts.
Some players brushed off the breach as a common hazard of operating in a connected world, and Sony said some services would be restored in a week. But industry experts said the scale of the breach was staggering and could cost the company billions of dollars.
"Simply put, one of the worst breaches we've seen in several years," said Josh Shaul, chief technology officer for Application Security Inc., a New York-based company that is one of the country's largest database security software makers.
Sony said it has no direct evidence credit card information was taken, but said "we cannot rule out the possibility."
It said the intrusion was "malicious" and that the company had hired an outside security firm to investigate. It has taken steps to rebuild its system to provide greater protection for personal information and warned users to contact credit agencies and set up fraud alerts.