Sony Begins Restoration of PlayStation Network After Security Breach

Sony moved to restart its PlayStation Network and Online Entertainment videogame services outside Asia, following a hacking attack that compromised personal information for more than 100 million user accounts last month.

Sony said it had begun restoration of its PlayStation Network games service on Sunday, almost a month after a massive security breach of the network forced the company to shut it down. Photo: Joey/Flickr

Sony has announced it will begin a phased restoration of its PlayStation Network on Sunday, more than three weeks since the service had to be shut down because of a security breach affecting more than 100 million online accounts.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant apologized to customers for the outage, and said a range of new security measures had been introduced.

“I can’t thank you enough for your patience and support during this time,” Kazuo Hirai, chief of Sony Corp’s PlayStation video game unit, said in the news release, which was also posted as a video message on the PlayStation Network blog.

“We are taking aggressive action at all levels to address the concerns that were raised by this incident, and are making consumer data protection a full-time, companywide commitment.”

The company said in a news release that the process to restart its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services will unfold in regions of the world as follows: the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.

Restored operations are mainly limited to online gaming, chat and music streaming. Sony said it aimed to fully restore the network by the end of May.

The company also began a phased restoration of its Qriocity movie and music services which share the PlayStation Network’s server, said a Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka.

The PlayStation Network, which enables console owners to download games, has been offline since April 20, after Sony discovered that hackers had breached security, accessing the personal information on 77 million accounts.

In a statement released on Saturday, the company said it has improved its online security for consumers by making “considerable enhancements to the data security, including updating and adding advanced security technologies, additional software monitoring and penetration and vulnerability testing, and increased levels of encryption and additional firewalls.”

While the partial service allows users to enjoy video games and online chat, Sony said consumers still cannot buy video games or other content by using credit cards.

“While we understand the importance of getting our services back online, we did not rush to do so at the expense of extensively and aggressively testing our enhanced security measures,” said Kazuo Hirai.

Sony spokesman Sosuke Kamei said the company’s probe into the hacker attack was ongoing. He declined to give details on the investigation.

Meanwhile, many frustrated gamers have threatened to allegiance and purchase Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in retaliation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Jesus Contreras, 25, was listing his recently purchased PlayStation 3 on Craigslist over the weekend, seeking to sell the console or trade it for an Xbox. The college student said he missed playing games like Activision Blizzard Inc.’s “Call Of Duty” for hours with his friends.

“I feel that all the stuff I bought from them—games, map packs for ‘Call of Duty,’ other games that I’ve downloaded, it doesn’t seem like they were doing their fair share,” he said.

Sony came under heavy criticism over its handling of the network intrusion. The company did not notify consumers of the breach until April 26 even though it began investigating unusual activity on the network from April 20.

Last month, US lawyers filed a lawsuit against Sony on behalf of lead plaintiff Kristopher Johns for negligent protection of personal data and failure to inform players in a timely fashion that their credit card information may have been stolen. The lawsuit seeks class-action status.

Since the shutdown of the PlayStation Network on 20 April, Sony’s share price has dropped nearly 9% to close at 2,241 yen ($28) on Friday.

What do you think of the steps Sony has taken to handle the security breach? Will you continue to use the PlayStation Network post-security breach? Share your thoughts in the comments below. [via CBC (CA), Reuters and Wall Street Journal]

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