By TOM WELLS
THREE million British gamers may have had credit card details stolen after the PlayStation Network was hacked, Sony have admitted.
The electronics giant said it could "not rule out" the possibility that fraudsters seized the data.
A staggering 77 MILLION accounts worldwide were hacked.
The security breach saw data from 59 countries lost - with names, addresses, birthdays and security info leaked.
Last night, Sony apologised for the scandal and promised to "aggressively" hunt down the culprits.
In a statement it said: "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.
"We don't have an exact date to share at this moment as to when we will have the services turned on, but are working day and night to ensure it is as quickly as possible.
"We are going to proceed aggressively to track down those that are responsible."
It comes a week after the PlayStation network crashed - leaving gamers fuming.
Sony's Qriocity music streaming service also collapsed.
LoveFilm users who download movies with their PlayStations were hit too.
Sony first logged an "illegal and unauthorised" attack between April 17 and April 19. It warned users to watch out for phone and email scams.
PlayStation gamers need to enter credit card and personal details to play online games, download software, films and music.
SONY last night announced a rival to the Apple iPad tablet computer - with two models running Google's Android operating system being launched this year.
8:14am UK, Wednesday April 27, 2011
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 shutdown of the PlayStation network prevented owners of the video game console from buying and downloading games as well as playing with rivals over the internet.
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.
This is a huge data breach. The bigger issue with Sony is how will the hacker use the info that has been illegally obtained?
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter
The company said there was no evidence credit card numbers were stolen but warned users it could not rule out the possibility.
"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?"
Sony, which is part of Sony Corp, said it hoped to restore some of the PlayStation network's services within a week.
The network launched in autumn 2006 and offers games, music and movies to people with PlayStation consoles. It has 77 million registered users.