PlayStation Network Down, Latest Update Admits “External Intrusion”

    April 25, 2011
    Josh Wolford

Since Wednesday of last week the PlayStation Network, Sony’s online gaming platform, has been offline.  Last weekend saw the launch of two major games for the console, Mortal Kombat and Portal 2, which much to the chagrin of gamers are unavailable for online play.

On Thursday, Sony announced on the PlayStation blog that they had shut down the PSN for a day of two to investigate an unknown outage.  The U.S. blog was vague about the outage, but the EU blog hinted that the network had been hacked.  Shortly, that blog post was redacted and a new one was posted mirroring the vague U.S. post.

Many on the interwebs blamed the outage on hactivist group Anonymous, citing their previous takedown of the PSN.  “Operation Sony” was the hackers’ planned campaign against Sony in response to recent legal battles staged against PS3 hackers like George “Geohot” Hotz.

On Friday, Anonymous addressed these rumors with a message titled “For Once We Didn’t Do It.” In that statement they acknowledged that individual Anons could have acted unilaterally, but officially AnonOps was not responsible.:

While it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves AnonOps was not related to this incident and takes no responsibility for it. A more likely explanation is that Sony is taking advantage of Anonymous’ previous ill-will towards the company to distract users from the fact the outage is actually an internal problem with the companies servers.

Sony has now admitted that it was, in fact, and “external intrusion” that caused the shutdown of the network:

An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network & Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th. Providing quality entertainment services to our customers and partners is our utmost priority. We are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we once again thank you for your patience. We will continue to update you promptly as we have additional information to share.

The latest update also provides no timeline for the network coming back online, and the lack of total transparency in the matter must be frustrating to PS3 owners.

We sincerely regret that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have been suspended, and we are working around the clock to bring them both back online. Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security.

We thank you for your patience to date and ask for a little more while we move towards completion of this project. We will continue to give you updates as they become available.

A 5 day outage has to be incredibly annoying on its own even if the service is free.  But if the network has indeed been hacked, the lack of full disclosure must be frustrating considering the PSN contains user information and even credit card numbers.

The last time the PSN’s biggest competitor Xbox Live had a severe outage, they gave all users a free arcade game for their inconvenience.  I wonder how Sony will make this up to its loyal customers.