Sony probes new claim that hackers stole user data

Jun 02, 2011 By CASSANDRA VINOGRAD and RAPHAEL G. SATTER , Associated Press

(AP) -- Sony Pictures said Thursday it is investigating a statement from hackers claiming to have stolen more than 1 million pieces of user information.

A group of hackers calling itself LulzSec said it has compromised users' personal information, including passwords, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, dates of birth, and all Sony opt-in data associated with their accounts.

, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, said Thursday it is aware of the LulzSec statement and looking into it.

The data, carried in a plain text file posted to the hacking group's site, 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. Tanning picked up the phone, and confirmed the rest of the details listed by LulzSec - including her password, which she said she was changing.

"I don't panic," she told the AP, explaining that she was very seldom online and wasn't wealthy. "There's nothing that they can pick out of me," she joked.

If officially confirmed, the breach would deal yet another blow to . which already is facing questions over why it did not inform consumers more quickly after a massive in April targeted through its PlayStation Network and network, compromising more than 100 million .

At the time, experts warned the attack emboldened hackers and made them more willing to pursue sensitive information.

LulzSec said that none of the data it accessed from Sony was encrypted, "which means its just a matter of taking it."

"This is disgraceful and insecure," the group said in its statement. "They were asking for it."

LulzSec recently claimed responsibility for hacking the website of PBS network to post a fake story in protest of a recent "Frontline" investigative news program on WikiLeaks.

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