Sony Presser Announces Return of PSN and Rewards for Loyalty
By Bladez L. Stryker On 1 May, 2011 At 02:38 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation | With 2 Comments

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Today, May 1, 2011, at 2:00PM JST, Sony executives held a press conference concerning the recent breach and subsequent shut down of Playstation Network and Qriocity. Speaking on Sony’s behalf were Kazuo Hirai (Executive Deputy President, Sony Corp.), Shinji Hasejima (Chief Information Officer, Sony Corp.), and Shiro Kambe (Corporate Communications and CSR, Sony Corp.). They began by bowing and extending their sincerest apologies to all affected by the incident.

Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation

The first point covered was the compromise of personal data. The method used in gaining access to the database was said to be “a very sophisticated and advanced way of compromising our system”. As most may already know from prior updates, this included names, billing addresses, PlayStation Network ID’s, Qriocity sign-in ID’s, passwords, and security question answers. There was no evidence of access to credit card information and that it was encrypted and stored at another location. It was also stated that 3-4 digit security codes were not obtained. Of the 77 million accounts that were compromised, 10 million of them had credit cards stored on file.

The database that incurred the illegal intrusion was located in San Diego, California. In addition to expediting the pre-planned move, more security measures are underway. A new automated software monitoring system, increasing the capability to detect unauthorized intrusions and suspicious or unusual activity. On top of this, an enhanced firewall will also be added. There will be a new position created for a Chief Information Security Officer of SNEI to further insure protection of personal data.

Sony further stated that PlayStation Network services are key to its strategies and they will continue to strengthen their network and learn from this recent incident. Restoration of services are planned to begin this week with limited access. Confirming safety and security of the system is underway users regain access to the PlayStation Network, they will be required to update to a new firmware version and submit a new password. It was stated “this can only be done on the PlayStation 3 system on which the ID was created or activated, or through a validated e-mail address”. This was not further clarified, but more information should be available regarding the process before services are restored.One can only assume if you are unable to submit a new password via your PlayStation 3 that the validated e-mail address would be the one that is connected to your PlayStation Network ID.

Very little was said regarding the legal ramifications of this situation, but that is pretty much the standard in any on-going investigation. It was confirmed that FBI has been contacted in this matter because the database was located in the United States. Authorities in other countries have contacted Sony, and it is said they will be handled on a case by case basis. Also mentioned were the DdoS attacks which occurred in early April. The group that claimed responsibility goes by the name Anonymous. Additionally, personal information of Sony executives was dug up and posted on the web. Hirai stated “we will be sharing more information on the investigation when we have such information to share”.

Another large concern of consumers is how will they be compensated for loss of services. There are many arguments about the need for compensation for a service that is free, yet there are also users that do pay for additional services.

In response, Sony is instituting a “Welcome Back” package. This package will be based on the region in which you are located. This will include some free downloaded content, a 30 day free subscription to PlayStation Plus services for all users, and 30 days free Qriocity use for subscribers. If users are already PlayStation Plus subscribers then their membership will be extended by 30 days. In addition, Sony will also cover any costs for credit card replacements and identity theft protection services in affected countries. Nothing was mentioned about the 2 Sony Online Entertainment games DC Universe Online and Free Realms, both which require paid subscriptions and are on-line only games.

Sony also stated that they will be devoted to re-establishing its trust from consumers by continued increased security and better communication with their customers.

This incident has been big news of late, and the major concern of people seems to be the access of their personal information. Sony is not the first company this has happened to and it may not be the last. Other companies have had intrusions where information has been obtained. These days it just doesn’t take a hacker to gain information on you. Anyone of us that uses the internet is leaving some form of digital foot print. Simply put your name in one of the many internet search engines and some of you will be very surprised at just how much one can find through typing a name and the click of a button.

 

 

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  1. A few after thoughts here.

    The safest way to insure account security, when signing in you must create a new password. I think some will end up being angry over this as I believe it will be limited to the PS3 your account was created on or the e-mail address linked to your account. There is no way to tell if between April 17th and April 19th if an account was accessed and activate on another machine. Meaning the person who gained access to your account could have activated it on their own PS3. Some people may not currently own the original PS3 that their account was created on. This leaves only the option to use e-mail validation and I know that some people who do use multiple accounts use fake e-mail addresses and there are also those who may not have updated to a new e-mail address if they have since changed it. There will be people who will complain about this but you should always have a working and current address linked to your account.

    Also brought up at the conference was a question about releases being delayed. Sony did mention that their new tablet device and the NGP are both still on schedule, but did not comment further on any planned game and DLC releases.

    Another question that seems to come up a lot is why is this such a big deal when it has happened with other companies. Just within the last month, 2 Microsoft employees have had their Xbox Live accounts hacked. The first was Stephen Toulouse, Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox Live. The hack was claimed to be performed by a user that had been banned 35 times.

    The second was over the weekend, Larry Hryb, Director of online programming for Xbox Live. The hacker has claimed responsibilty, even posting video of how he did it on YouTube. Website lightzz.com is claiming responsibility, and the hacker has even offered to do the same to other accounts for $60 US.

    I also found a video posted on youtube claiming a legit way to hack a Xbox Live account that was just uploaded on Saturday April 30th. It appears that this video is false, and is a scheme by its creator to gain information to hack Xbox Live accounts himself. The biggest clue to this, or any other e-mail scam, is that the address is a yahoo.com account. Large corporations never use any free e-mail account sites.

  2. Update: Although Sony does plan on having online gaming back up this week for PS3 and PSP, as well as Playstation Home, and some functions of account management, G4TV reports that the Playstation Store and Qriocity services might not be up until the end of May.

  3. Shawn WilsonNo Gravatar says:

    This has me very cautious with Sony networks now. Especially since SOE got hacked as well and I’m an Everquest II player.

  4. Well, everyone should be cautious about all their information out there, including social networking sites such as Facebook. Google brings up a lot of information as well, even in some cases of friends, information sch as telephone number and address that should be unlisted. I don’t understand why with Sony it is such big press coverage. In the last 3 months ajor corporations have had illegal intrusions to their databases including Citibank, Target, and Amazon. The truth is eventually any system can be hacked given enough time. If anything, when the PSN returns, because of these events, will make it one of the most secure networks around. You should check out the letter from Sony to the US Congress answering questions regarding the events.

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