Sony probes hacking group's claims
Sony has been hit by a second massive data breach, hackers claim, another potential embarrassment for a company that is struggling to restore its image following the loss of millions of credit card numbers through its PlayStation Network.
The hackers, who call themselves LulzSec, said they pulled off what they described as an elementary attack to highlight Sony's "disgraceful" security.
"Every bit of data we took wasn't encrypted. Sony stored over 1,000,000 passwords of its customers in plaintext, which means it's just a matter of taking it," LulzSec said in a statement. "They were asking for it."
Sony Pictures, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, said it is aware of the LulzSec statement.
"We are looking into these claims," said Jim Kennedy, executive vice president of global communications for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The data - which includes passwords, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, dates of birth - was posted to the LulzSec website and appeared to be at least partially genuine.
The Associated Press called a number listed by LulzSec as belonging to 84-year-old Mary Tanning, a resident of Minnesota. Ms Tanning picked up the phone, and confirmed the rest of the details listed by LulzSec - including her password, which she said she was changing.
Sony is already is facing questions over why it did not inform consumers more quickly after a massive cyber-attack in April targeted credit card information through its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment network, compromising more than 100 million user accounts.
At the time, experts warned the attack emboldened hackers and made them more willing to pursue sensitive information.
It is unclear who the members of LulzSec are, or where they are based.