Sony: PSN back this week, security "enhanced"

In a Japanese press conference held earlier today, Sony has announced the company’s plans to recover from the PlayStation Network downtime that has affected gamers over the past two weeks. Basically, the global rollout of services will happen region by region, and the system has already been enhanced, promising greater protection of personal information in case this happens again.

PlayStation Network

They're trying to make things better...

Sony has confirmed what it’s calling a “criminal cyber-attack” hit the company’s data center in San Diego, California. As a response, Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI) “quickly turned off” the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, kicked off an extensive audit of the system, and hired “multiple” expert information security firms.

As a result, Sony has now implemented a bunch of new security measures, designed to make your information safter. Sony and the team of third-party experts have worked together to verify the strength of the new security, and believe it is now suitable to be rolled out to the public.

The initial phase of bringing PlayStation Network and Qriocity back online “will include, but is not limited to”:

  • 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
  • PlayStation®Home
  • Friends List
  • Chat Functionality

Another result of this drama – Sony has now introduced the position of Chief Information Security Officer, who will report directly to Shinji Hasejima, the Chief Information Officer at Sony Corporation. This new role will add an extra level of expertise and accountability when it comes to customer data protection, and an extra level of support for the existing information security personnel.

New security measures already implemented include (but are not limited to!):

  • 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

Sony were already planning on moving the contents of its San Diego data centre to an unnamed “different location”, organising construction and development months ago. This move will now be hurried up.

Qriocity

More than just PlayStation Network

It’s not all changes on the back-end, either. A new, forced, system software update will roll out when the PlayStation Network resumes service. All registered PSN users will have to change their account passwords before logging into the service.

As a further check, you can only change your password on the same console on which you originally activated your account, or through a validated email confirmation.

Law enforcement has been brought in to this “thorough and on-going investigation”, with every effort being made to track down and prosecute those responsible for the illegal intrusion.

Sony Corporation Executive Deputy President, Kazuo Hirai, explained today:

“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.

“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.”

Kazuo Hirai

Sony's Kaz Hirai

…but wait! That’s not all!
Even though Sony rush to reassure customers that there is “no evidence at this time” that any credit card or financial information has been stolen, the company would like to help you protect your personal data. If you enrol in an identity theft protection service (or similar proram), Sony is making a “complimentary offering” as encouragement. We’re not quite sure what that’ll be yet, but this system will be run on a local, regional basis, and further details will be made available shortly.

There will also be a “Welcome Back” program offered worldwide (and tailored per region), providing gamers and customers with a “selection of service options and premium content”, as the company’s way of thanking you for your “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.

As a final note, SNEI will continue to “reinforce and verify security” when it comes to transactions, which is why the PlayStation Store and certain Qriocity operations will not be resuming until later in May.

For further information, please head to the PlayStation Blog – either in the [surl=http://blog.us.playstation.com/]United States[/surl] or in [surl=http://blog.eu.playstation.com/]Europe[/surl].


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