The PSN saga may be coming to an end, as Sony's Senior Director of Corporate Communications Patrick Seybold made what is surely his most crowd-pleasing statement of the whole ordeal. Seybold announced via PlayStation blog that the PSN and Qriocity services will begin restoration sometime this week.
It has been almost 2 full weeks since the PSN was shut down due to an "external intrusion." Over the course of the outage, Sony released details about the attack - much too slowly for many PS3 owners' liking. Eventually Sony confirmed that hackers had in fact made off with users' personal info like passwords and email addresses.
It looks like Sony now feels secure enough to begin phase one of service restoration. The time-frame for "some services" to be up and running is this week, no specific day was given. From the official statement:
The initial phase of the rollout will include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Restoration of Online game-play across the PlayStation®3 (PS3) and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems
-This includes titles requiring online verification and downloaded games
- Access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers
- Access to account management and password reset
- Access to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
- Friends List
- Chat Functionality
Working closely with several outside security firms, the company has implemented significant security measures to further detect unauthorized activity and provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information. The company is also creating the position of Chief Information Security Officer, directly reporting to Shinji Hasejima, Chief Information Officer of Sony Corporation, to add a new position of expertise in and accountability for customer data protection and supplement existing information security personnel. The new security measures implemented include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Added automated software monitoring and configuration management to help defend against new attacks
- Enhanced levels of data protection and encryption
- Enhanced ability to detect software intrusions within the network, unauthorized access and unusual activity patterns
- Implementation of additional firewalls
Speaking in a press conference in Tokyo, Sony Exec Kazuo Hirai was apologetic to users, and said that the nature of the attack on their network was "highly sophisticated."
This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry. These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security. We take the security of our consumers’ information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data. In addition, the organization has worked around the clock to bring these services back online, and are doing so only after we had verified increased levels of security across our networks.
During the PSN outage, one thread that has consistently run through reader comments on WebProNews is that of compensation. What will Sony do to make this up to loyal customers? Some said that Sony doesn't own them anything, citing the fact that the PSN is free. However, many stated that since online play is such a big part of many games, online outages are akin to wasting the money that they payed for the games. It was always my opinion that Sony would be absolutely crazy not to offer some compensation for customers' frustration.
It looks like Sony is sane, as they have announced a "Welcome Back" appreciation program that includes but it apparently not limited to:
Central components of the “Welcome Back” program will include:
- Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
- All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
- Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.
More offerings are forthcoming, according to the press release.
Sony still says that they have found no real evidence to suggest that hackers stole credit card info. Throughout this whole thing, however, they have told users to brace for the worst - they it was a possibility that their info was compromised. Last week, security researchers reported that hackers were discussing the theft of the credit card info on underground forums. According to the reports, they had priced over 2.2 million stolen numbers and expiration dates at $100,000 and even might have attempted to sell them back to Sony. Sony denied knowledge of any sort of offer.
So, how do you feel about all of this? What grade do you give Sony's handling of the outage throughout the past 2 weeks? How do you feel about Sony's apology and offer? Let us know.