June 20, 2011

Sega Suffers Data Breach, 1.3 Million Affected

There are no signs of hackers slowing down in their efforts to breach high profile systems. Video game maker Sega is the latest victim to have online identities and passwords stolen.

Information belonging to 1.3 million customers has been stolen from Sega's database. Names, birth dates, e-mail addresses and encrypted passwords of users of Sega Pass online network members are compromised, Sega said in a statement.

Although payment data such as credit card numbers have not been affected, Sega Pass had been shut down until a full assessment can be determined. Sega emphasized that it will strengthen its network security and will release information about the case as it becomes available.

"We are deeply sorry for causing trouble to our customers. We want to work on strengthening security," Sega spokeswoman Yoko Nagasawa told Reuters, adding it is unclear when the firm would restart Sega Pass.

This latest incident follows a series of hacker attacks on Sony beginning in April which forced it to suspend online services for weeks. An estimated 100 million accounts were believed to be compromised from Sony.

The first group to get the finger pointed at them over the Sega breach was LulzSec, an anonymous group of hackers who admitted to the cyber break-ins at Sony and other sites, AFP reports.

LulzSec, in its official Twitter feed denied any involvement saying, "We want to help you destroy the hackers that attacked you. We love the Dreamcast, these people are going down."

An e-mail was sent to Sega Pass users on Friday, explaining, "Over the last 24 hours we have identified that unauthorized entry was gained to our Sega Pass database. We immediately took the appropriate action to protect our consumers' data and isolate the location of the breach. We have launched an investigation into the extent of the breach of our public systems."

Sega explained that it had reset all passwords and urged customers to change their log-on details on other services and websites where they used the same credentials, BBC News reports. It added that password details had not been stored in plain text, suggesting that they may have been secured by some kind of encryption.

Long known for "Sonic the Hedgehog", Sega produces games for a range of consoles, including the PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's motion-control Wii.

The company became a household name with popular games such as "UFO Catchers" and in 1998 won a fan base with its Dreamcast machine. But it stopped producing the Dreamcast in 2001 under fierce competition from Sony and Nintendo.

The company has since focused on arcade machines and software and has found success after merging in 2004 with Sammy Corp., Japan's top maker of pinball slot machines.


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