Sony offers identity theft protection after cyber-attacks

The service available from Wednesday includes theft insurance, security alerts and help from experts

Sony began letting its U.S. PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers sign up on Wednesday for free identity theft protection services following cyber-attacks that may have exposed the personal data of its 77 million members.

PlayStation Network account holders and those registered with Sony's music streaming service Qriocity were invited to enroll online for a package that sends alerts of possible security breaches, offers a US$1 million identity theft insurance policy per user, and includes "hands-on" help from fraud investigators, Sony said on its blog.

Customers in the U.S. with accounts active on April 20, a day after Sony learned it had been hacked, can get the service free for a year, the blog post said.

Sony worked with the U.S.-based security firm Debix to set up the identity theft protection program, called AllClear ID PLUS, for people worried about security "following the criminal cyber attack on the network," the May 25 blog post says. Sony has said it is trying to set up other security programs for customers outside the U.S.

The company said in April that PlayStation Network user data such as e-mail addresses might have been compromised after the cyber-attack, which also took the network offline for about a month. Earlier this month the company said its Sony Online Entertainment network had also been hit, affecting about 25 million users.

It first announced the Debix program on May 2 and has also offered free video games and movies to reward worried or restless customers for their patience after the cyber-attacks.

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