- On 6/5/ Sony increases give aways:
Two Free PS3 Games, (Dead Nation™, InFAMOUS™, LittleBigPlanet™, Super Stardust™, HD WipEout® HD Bundle).
Two Free PSN Games
PlayStation®Plus—30 Days Free
100 Free Virtual Items from Playstation Home.
- On 5/26, Record breaking financial losses and still no PSN access but figures have emerged to suggest as little as 9% of Playstation users are considering jumping ship to the Xbox360 and industry experts say Sony will still manage to shift over 14 Million PS3's in the next year.
- On 5/26, Sony announced that they hope to give all users full access to PSN as well as the Playstation Store by the end of the month
- On 5/26, Many gamers are unable to access their PSN accounts as Sony continue to perform maintenance in an attempt to get the PSN Store back online
- On 5/23, Sony recently announced huge losses for this financial quarter, there's figures flying around ranging from $170 million up to the billions. We expect to know more when they publish their report at the end of this quarter.
- On 5/23, Sony announce compensation plans for users effected by the PSN downtime. A choice of two free games from a list of five as well as a month's premium access to the Playstation Network.
- On 5/3, Sony admit to losing over 100 million PSN accounts during the April 17th to 19th downtime. They also lost important information like address, date of birth and phone numbers of over 20 million PC gamers. Other reports indicate that a large number of credit card numbers are being sold and these are apparently those that were stolen during the cyber attack.
- On 5/1, to thank its customers for their patience and loyalty, Sony announced it will offer Playstation Network users 30 days free membership to the Playstation Plus service. This means exclusive games and beta trials.
- Current subscribers will get an additional 30 days free.
- Sony announced the network will be back up. How has the network been for you? Post your comments below.
- Sony has apologized at a news conference saying "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..."
By now, everyone knows that the Playstation Network went down on 4/20/11. There was rampant speculation everywhere as gamers frantically tried to figure out what was going on and how soon they'd be able to once again test their mettle against their friends. Soon enough, we were told by Sony that the network would be down indefinitely and that they were working on it.
That's when the speculation really ramped up.
Cause and Effect
One of the first ideas that began to float around that seems to have some merit is the idea of an outside attack on the network. Unlike the hack from a few months ago, this one has staying power. But what are its roots?
With all the international focus on the Anonymous hacker group, many naturally assumed that they were behind the attack. After the last attempt was quashed and Sony filed suit, Anonymous promised that they would counterattack. So it only seemed natural that they would be responsible. Despite natural assumption to the contrary, Anonymous has denied all association with this possible attack and simply mocked Sony as being "incompetent."
While you may rightfully question whether or not the hackers are telling the truth on this point, you have to look at their past practices. They readily copped to their attacks on the websites of governments and international banks and corporations, so it only makes sense that if they had anything to do with the PSN outage that they would admit it. Heck, they'd probably proudly embrace it as a show of their "power."
Anonymous also touts its role as a hacktivist group, and an attack on PSN that effects users more than anyone else is not consistent with its role as griefers of governments, faceless corporations, and the ultra-rich.
The next big rumor that was swirling around was that whoever hacked the network gained access to PSN member's personal information, including credit card numbers. Immediately, of course, talks of class-action lawsuits began to spring up as members scrambled to manage their credit card accounts to protect them against fraudulent charges.
Information from Sony has been slow to trickle out, but as of this writing the latest word is that the custom firmware known as "Rebug" is behind it all. This firmware, which allowed users to download PSN content for free, proved to be unstoppable by anything short of shutting down the network, which Sony did.
So is Our Information Safe?
Users obviously care about their connection to the Playstation Network, but when you start talking about credit card information you are treading on real world ground. People start getting scared and they want you to cut to the chase. What's the deal?
A speculative report was released that stated that "no one's personal information was accessible via this hack. That's not to say they couldn't get it, but no one is admitting to it being available."
Yeah, that's comforting.
The latest news, according to CNN, is that indeed PSN members did have their personal information accessed. This includes users' names, home addresses, e-mail addresses, passwords, and birth dates. Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment said in a joint statement, "While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility."
Both entities are also stating that while hackers could have access to users' credit card numbers, expiration dates, billing addresses, answers to security questions, and purchase history, they will not have access to credit card security codes. Nevertheless, they are also advising members to throughly go over their credit card statements and place fraud alerts when necessary.
When's it Coming Back, for Crying Out Loud?
At this point, it's hard to say when we are going to see the PSN go back online. Sony is going to have to work this out and prove to their customers that everything's OK. Soon enough, I'm sure we'll go right back to shooting each other in the face in our favorite PS3 game like we do every day.
But will we forget this outage? Not likely.
So what does this mean for the future? Without a doubt, Sony will learn a lesson here and will take steps to have additional protections built into the PS4. Some have stated that this attack may even hasten the arrival of the PS4. While I think that may be jumping the gun a bit, I certainly don't believe that this is the death knell of the Sony gaming platform like some naysayers do.
What do you think?
Article by - Brett Huffman
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