The Japanese electronics giant Sony has admitted millions of PlayStation network gamers may have had their personal details stolen.
A hacker broke into the PlayStation video game online network and stole names, addresses and possibly credit card data belonging to 77 million people.
It is believed to be one of the biggest-ever internet security breaches of its kind.
Sony learned of the breach on April 19 and immediately shut down the PlayStation network, but kept quiet about it for a whole week.
In a statement the company said an “illegal and unauthorised person” obtained people’s names, addresses, email address, birthdates, usernames, passwords, logins, security questions and more.
The breach is a major setback for Sony. Although video game hardware and software sales have declined globally, the PlayStation franchise has been a steady seller and is one of its key products.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained,” it said.
Analysts said while Sony has notified its customers of the break-in, it still has not provided information on how users’ data may have been compromised.
“This is a huge data breach,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. “The bigger issue with Sony is how will the hacker use the info that has been illegally obtained?”