Sony probes new claim that hackers stole user data

By the Associated Press | June 2, 2011 | 5:44 PM EDT

LONDON (AP) — Sony Pictures is investigating hackers' claims that they have stolen more than 1 million pieces of user information in another attack on the entertainment company's networks.

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

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.

Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp. of America, said Thursday that it is aware of LulzSec's claim and looking into it.

If true, the breach would deal yet another blow to Sony, which suffered a massive cyber-attack in April that targeted credit card information through its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment network. Company executives on Thursday faced questions from U.S. lawmakers over why consumers weren't informed more quickly about the breach. Over 100 million user accounts were affected and the company only recently was able to restore service.

At the time, experts warned that 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 it's just a matter of taking it."

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