Remember that time when we could turn on our PlayStations and play it with friends? Those were the good ol’ days that ended on April 19 when Sony shut down their PSN and Qriocity services after an illegal intrusion into the system that compromised the private information of all users.
After a week of speculation and confusion, Sony finally explained the situation and unveiled the horrifying possibility that the credit card numbers of PSN users who’ve purchased from the online store may be at risk as well. While there’s been no confirmed reports of that thankfully, and while Sony stock prices fall, we all wonder when PSN is coming back online and what Sony might be doing to compensate those affected.
Sony just issued an official press release, confirming their plans to phase in the restoration of their PSN services. They also discuss what added security features they’ve implemented on their end as well as required steps for all users to take to jump back in on PSN. Lastly, Sony outlined how they’re compensating users with free downloads and free 30 day memberships.
Read below for the full low-down and details on the security and freebies. It’s a worthy read:
Following a criminal cyber-attack on the company’s data-center located in San Diego, California, U.S.A., SNEI 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. 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. With these measures in place, SCE and SNEI plan to start a phased rollout by region of the services shortly. 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
The company also expedited an already planned move of the system to a new data center in a different location that has been under construction and development for several months. In addition, PS3 will have a forced system software update that will require all registered PlayStation Network users to change their account passwords before being able to sign into the service. As an added layer of security, that password can only be changed on the same PS3 in which that account was activated, or through validated email confirmation, a critical step to help further protect customer data.
The company is conducting a thorough and on-going investigation and working with law enforcement to track down and prosecute those responsible for the illegal intrusion.
“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,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “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.”
Complimentary Offering and “Welcome Back” Appreciation Program
While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.
The company will also rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity “Welcome Back” program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide our consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.
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.
Additional “Welcome Back” entertainment and service offerings will be rolled out over the coming weeks as the company returns the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to the quality standard users have grown to enjoy and strive to exceed those exceptions.
SNEI will continue to reinforce and verify security for transactions before resuming the PlayStation®Store and other Qriocity operations, scheduled for this month.
Has Sony done enough in response to the situation?
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