Five years after suffering a devastating cyberattack that compromised millions of customer accounts, Sony has finally announced that PlayStation and Vita owners can activate two-step verification on their PlayStation Network (PSN) accounts in order to reduce the risk of being hacked.

The long-awaited feature, which emerged in a tweet on 24 August that linked to a new security page, allows those signed up to the ongoing gaming service to add a mobile device to their account that will be sent a unique code upon sign-in and needed to access the network.

"Passwords can be compromised if you use the same password for multiple accounts, click on malicious links, open phishing emails and other methods," Sony said on its website.

"If your password is compromised and becomes known to someone other than yourself, your account will still require a verification code to gain access when you activate two-step verification.

"By requiring two forms of identification for sign-in, your account and personal information will be better protected," it continued. "When signing into your account on the network, you will use your password along with a verification code that you will receive on your mobile phone via text."

While two-step verification, sometimes referred to as two-factor authentication, is not totally hack-proof, it grants users an extra layer of protection on a service that has been targeted by hackers on numerous occasions in recent years.

The feature will be welcome to the millions of Sony PlayStation and Vita customers who don't want a repeat of the 2011 hack that left roughly 77 million user accounts exposed. This, as the firm admitted at the time, included names, email addresses, billing addresses and passwords.

Microsoft, one the main gaming rivals of Sony thanks to its Xbox console, has offered two-step verification on its online services since 2013. Meanwhile, other major internet-based businesses like Amazon, Google and Apple have also adopted the security feature as standard in order to better protect their customers online.

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