Playstation SecurityIn case you haven’t noticed, this week around TechnoBuffalo the Herd has been taking part in a slew of theme-based articles. We’ve been talking about privacy as it applies to the world of tech, internetting (verbed it!) and online life. Well, I’m the gaming writer. My work is more constricted to the world of PC and console gaming. It seems to me that right now, especially more than every before, console gamers as a whole need to stand up and take notice of what’s happened with Sony.

In all fairness, noticing the problems isn’t the hard part. It’s going from there that should challenge us. Gaming isn’t like Facebook or YouTube or Flickr. This isn’t a forum for us to share the intricacies of our lives. Given a decently anonymous username and the staunch ability to not randomly shout out things like your Social Security Number was, for a while, good enough to keep console gaming safe.

Because of the attack on Sony, and the subsequent compromosing of a metric ton of user accounts and the personal information within, gamers need to be careful. It’s common sense that any dealings online can incur a risk in loss of privacy. But the gaming world has always been so far removed from that notion that it’s not been brought front and center for gamers.

Learn a lesson from Sony, be careful about the information you give to the console manufacturers. All of us should feel a little exposed right now. By all of us, of course I mean both PlayStation Network users and gamers as a whole. This could have happened on the Xbox 360, it could have happened on the Wii and, of course, it could have happened to Steam users as well. We’ve learned that we’re not safe from the screwball motivations of hackers.

And when I say “hackers,” I don’t mean the kind I like. I love the homebrewers, the modders, the OS installers and the genuine hacking geniuses of the gaming world. It’s the idiots that sit down and maliciously aim to hurt users and the consoles and games they love. That’s what happened with Sony, and it absolutely stinks.

I encourage you to reconsider storing your personal information on your consoles. This may hurt the marketplace owners, but maybe you should think twice about adding points with your credit card. It would probably be a lot safer to head to a local retail store and buy the points cards sold for cash. Those are safe, and you won’t be tossing your credit card number online.

It’s terrible that we even have to consider these problems, but what happened to Sony and the amount of personal data they compromised has forced us to do something we don’t want to do. We have to think twice about how we game. That, quite honestly, sucks.