A security breach on the Sony PlayStation Network might have put at risk the personal information of more than 780,000 North Carolinians, state Attorney General Roy Cooper said Friday.

Sony said this week that information for 77 million accounts – including credit card information, names, birthdates, email addresses and log-in information – was compromised in a hack on April 20.

The company said the credit card information was encrypted, which reduces but does not eliminate the chance that thieves could use it.

“With just a few pieces of information, an identity thief can pretend to be you and ruin your good name and credit,” Cooper said in a statement. “If you learn that your information may be in the wrong hands, act fast to protect yourself.”

He urged North Carolinians affected by the Sony PlayStation security breach to alert the credit bureaus, freeze their credit to prevent new accounts from being opened in their names and check their credit frequently.

Protecting your credit from a security breach

Sony estimates that it will restart the PlayStation Network next Tuesday, with new security measures in place.

Reps. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., sent a letter Friday to the chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Kazuo Hirai, demanding answers about when Sony discovered the breach and informed others, why it cannot determine whether credit card information was stolen, and what it was doing to handle the crisis.

On Wednesday, lawyers filed a suit against the company on behalf of lead plaintiff Kristopher Johns for negligent protection of personal data and failure to inform players in a timely fashion that their credit card information may have been stolen. The suit seeks class-action status.

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