PlayStation Network Outage Update

[Update: It’s official, Sony has confirmed that PSN Accounts have been compromised, and offered their explanation for the delayed response.]

When I tried getting on to PSN last Wednesday night, I  didn’t think much of the standard message that there had been an error and I had been logged out of the PlayStation Network. No, the surprising thing is that five days later, the network remains down, and I still can’t log in.

That means six days of no Netflix (well, not on PSN), no Hulu, no online games. No buying content from the PlayStation Store. When will service be restored? No one can say. In the mean time, “PSN Problem” has become the most popular search on Google the world over.

What do we know for sure about the PlayStation Network situation? Not much. Sony has confirmed that the outage is due to an “external intrusion” into PSN. The hacker group Anonymous, widely suspected to be behind the attack initially, denies responsibility. Whether or not any users’ credit card information was compromised during the intrusion remains unknown, though Sony claims to be investigating the matter thoroughly, with a promise of immediately notifying any affected account holders.

On the 23rd, Sony announced that bringing both PSN and Qriocity back online would be an involved, time-intensive process.

“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.”

Since then Sony has kept quiet on the matter, just today giving word on the PlayStation Blog that they still “don’t have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time.”

Meanwhile, a number of interesting theories have popped up online. From PS3 Inside comes speculation that Sony is creating a new Master Key for all PSN content. Once PSN comes back up, users will need to re-download all previously downloaded content so that they now have a key-imprinted copy.

Over on Reddit, a poster who claims to be a moderator says PSN was actually taken down in response to a new piece of custom firmware (CFW) called “Codename: Rebug.” Rebug could allegedly be used to get hacked PlayStation 3 systems back onto PSN, and ultimately gave users the ability to pirate loads of PSN content. These two bits of information seem to line up rather nicely, though there is no actual confirmation of either.

For now, PSN users will have to continue dealing with an unpleasant situation. There is some good news for a lucky few, though. On Twitter, inFamous 2 developer Sucker Punch announced that the user generated content beta for the game would be extended.

“We’ve decided to extend the beta. Once PSN is back up we’ll determine by how long, but rest assured: your outcry has been heard.”

Still it’s cold comfort for the millions and millions of PSN users who are going without right now. To be fair, Xbox Live has its vulnerabilities — remember when Major Nelson’s account got hacked? Still, Sony has long touted PSN as a service that is on par with Xbox Live, but without cost to users. It may have more trouble selling that vision (not to mention PlayStation Plus subscriptions) now than it would have had six days ago.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken

Source: PS3 Life, PS3 Inside, Reddit [via Joystiq], PlayStation Blog, Eurogamer

tags: PS3, PSN, Sony