First hacked was Japan's Sony's Playstation network, next Square Enix Holdings Co., then Nintendo, and now the gaming company Sega. News reports began surfacing late last week that Sega had sent an email to registered users of its Sega Pass web site informing them that their names, birth dates, email addresses and encrypted passwords had been compromised.
A BBC story from last Friday reported that the email from Sega to its customers stated in part that:
"Over the last 24 hours we have identified that unauthorised 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."
A Japan Times story reported that on Sunday Sega formally announced that the hackers broke into the web site of Sega's London unit, Sega Europe Ltd., and "stole personal information on all of its 1,290,755 registered users." The Times says that Sega Pass provides information on new Sega product news.
The Sega Pass site was shut down on Thursday. This morning, the site displays this message:
"SEGA Pass is going through some improvements so is currently unavailable for new members to join or existing members to modify their details including resetting passwords."
"We hope to be back up and running very soon."
"Thank you for your patience."
A Sydney Morning Herald report today that Sega put out a statement saying:
"We sincerely apologise for troubles this incident has caused to our customers."
No other Sega websites apparently have been compromised, the Herald story also said.
At the rate their going, hackers may soon be running out of Japanese game companies worthwhile attacking.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.