Sony offers free services as PSN returns

Tim Grey
2 May, 2011
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After an unprecedented security breach of Sony’s Playstation Network, when the personal information of 77 million user accounts was compromised by an attack by hackers on its San Diego data centre, the company is preparing to restore some of its services this week.

Sony held an extraordinary press conference at the weekend, where executives bowed in apology.

“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry,” said Sony executive deputy president Kazuo Hirai. “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.”

The attacks, which struck both the PlayStation network and its Qriocity streaming music services, were feared to have compromised up to 10 million registered credit cards, along with names, gender, addresses, email addresses, birthdays and login passwords of users.

Although the company is claiming the credit card details are secure, chatter on forums has indicated the hackers do indeed have the information, and are even considering selling the data back to Sony.

Researchers believe the attacks were made by modifying a PS3 console, allowing the hackers to infiltrate Sony’s main database.

While the investigation is ongoing, Sony expects to have some of its services back online this week, with additional security measures including automated software monitoring and configuration management to defend against new attacks, enhanced data protection and encryption, improved ability to detect intrusions and additional firewalls.

As compensation, users affected by the security breakdown will be offered free downloads, 30 days of free access to PlayStation Plus and free Music Unlimited Services.

Despite these efforts to correct problems, and to smooth over relations with its customers, Sony will be facing an investigation by the US House of Representatives. A full rebooting of the network could take until the end of May.

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