Who is holding your personal information hostage?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In every one of the old cops and robber shows on television there was a pretty good chance one of the characters would say "This is a hold up.  Give us all your money, or else!".

Now in cyberspace there is a new twist.  It is a trend is emerging where hackers steal information, hold it ransom, and then try to sell it back to the company they stole it from.

It's happened before but now researchers in cyber security say it is happening in what might turn out to be the largest data breach so far which is the Sony Playstation network breach.

Could your credit card data be in their hands and held for ransom?  WBTV's cyber expert, Theresa Payton, has some information and tips to share.

Researchers said that alleged hackers have been talking about it in online forums saying they have roughly 2 million credit card numbers from their heist.    The hackers offered to sell stolen credit cards back to Sony for $100,000.  It is unclear what the next steps will be but FBI Law Enforcement Officials are involved.


  1. Set up automated alerts for existing credit cards
  2. Consider placing high fraud alerts on your credit card accounts through Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax
  3. Make sure your password on the game system is not the same or even a variation of your email, banking or social networking accounts
  4. Several breaches have happened recently of email addresses - be very suspicious of emails you receive and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments
  5. Consider a new credit card if your card was connected to Sony Playstation

Web Resources:

Sony is communicating updates about the most recent breach at:

If you want to set up Fraud Alerts, you can go to all 3 credit reporting services:

TransUnion:  http://www.transunion.com

Equifax:  www.Equifax.com


Name Fail:  This can refer to a product or a person.  A product that has a name that might work fine in retail but does not translate well in the social media space. For example, there is an apartment complex named "Crapi" but the photo image of "Crapi Apartments" is a Name Fail. This term is also used when media or celebrities have a verbal or typing gaffe and use the wrong name.  The most recent Name Fail was when media analysts were saying or typing posts using the name "Obama" when they meant to use the name "Osama".