PlayStation Network will be back online within a week

2 May 2011

Sony has said that most of the features of its PlayStation Network will be back online. The company suffered a massive security breach in the past fortnight with the personal details of 77m users, including credit card details, falling into the hands of a hacker.

The company said that online gameplay for PlayStation 3 and PSP and access to account management features will go live this week.

However, other features, such as the downloadable games shop, will not come back online until later this month.

Apologising to its users, Sony is giving each user 30 free days of PlayStation Plus premium services, as well as a selection of free downloadable content.

All PlayStation 3 users will be required to download a system update and change their passwords on the original PlayStation console that they originally registered to the network.

“Following a criminal cyber attack on the company’s data centre located in San Diego, California, Sony Network Entertainment International quickly turned off the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, engaged multiple expert information security firms over the course of several days and conducted an extensive audit of the system,” the company said in a statement.

“Since then, the company has implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information. SNEI and its third-party experts have conducted extensive tests to verify the security strength of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.

It said the initial phase of the rollout will include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Restoration of online game play across the PlayStation 3 and PSP 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 unexpired movie rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
  • PlayStation Home
  • Friends list
  • Chat functionality

The company also expedited an already planned move of the system to a new data centre in a different location that has been under construction and development for several months.

“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry,” said Kazuo Hirai, executive deputy president, Sony Corporation.

“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 organisation 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,”

“Our global audience of PlayStation Network and Qriocity consumers was disrupted. We have learned lessons along the way about the valued relationship with our consumers, and to that end, we will be launching a customer appreciation program for registered consumers as a way of expressing our gratitude for their loyalty during this network downtime, as we work even harder to restore and regain their trust in us and our services,” Hirai said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years