May 9, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
The PlayStation store is back online as of Friday morning, though the PlayStation Network’s online gaming services are still under maintenance. Sony began the final stages of testing the security of the new PlayStation Network and Quirocity media streaming services Thursday, a key step in bringing the network closer to relaunch. Over the past several weeks, the company has been rebuilding its servers and doing a complete overhaul of its security layers.
The Playstation Network, which allows users to play games and access the PlayStation store online, has been offline since April 20th after suffering a severe, sophisticated security hack. The company had been using outdated web server software and had no firewall in place to keep hackers at bay, an issue that at least a few Sony employees were made aware of in the months prior to the security breach. It took Sony seven days to inform PSN users via e-mail that the personal information of over 77 million users was compromised, including names, addresses, e-mail addresses, birth dates and PSN login information.
No major credit card companies or PSN users have reported cases of fraudulent transactions as a result of the attack, and Sony has yet to confirm whether any credit card information has been taken. The company did state that it cannot rule out the possibility – although the credit card information was encrypted, it is possible that the decryption key was stored on one of the compromised servers. Sony says that it is likely that financial information tied to nearly 24 million Sony Online Entertainment accounts has been compromised.
In an attempt to keep millions of PSN users from jumping ship, Sony is offering a “Welcome Back” program on the PlayStation Network, which includes 30 days of free service from its premium subscription program and free downloadable content for all users. Quirocity is also offering 30 days of its Music Unlimited service for free. In a letter to users Thursday, Sony CEO Howard Stringer also stated that all PSN users in the US will have one year’s free access to an identity protection package through Sony. The European region is currently working to provide a similar service to its users.
The company has advised users to cancel their credit cards and change their login information to combat the possibility of identity theft. The matter is currently before Congress and under investigation by the FBI.