PSN downtime continues as Sony crisis grows

Service should be fully operational by May 31; new website breach discovered as SCEE discusses cover and free gifts

Despite indications that a limited service would resume within a week the PlayStation Network remains down, as a new security breach is discovered and user information is posted online.

The latest comments from Sony suggest that PSN will be fully operational by May 31, having failed to get any online functions working publicly since it was taken offline last month.

But while Sony is working on getting the network operational again, the company is dealing with the posting of data from 2,500 sweepstake contestants on an affiliated website.

The sweepstake was originally run in 2001, and may represent a third attack on the company - as predicted by online chatter on Friday. It is unclear whether the same group of hackers is involved, but Sony insists that information does not include credit card data, passwords, or social security numbers - but does include names and addresses.

"The website was out of date and inactive when discovered as part of the continued attacks on Sony," said the company to news agency Reuters.

The identity of the hackers, and whether they are the same group in each instance, remains unknown. However, following Sony's revelation that data relating to activist group Anonymous was found on their servers, two veterans of the group have said that other members are likely to have been behind the attacks.

"If you say you are Anonymous, and do something as Anonymous, then Anonymous did it," said 'Kayla' to the Financial Times. "Just because the rest of Anonymous might not agree with it, doesn't mean Anonymous didn't do it."

"Of course, the ones behind Operation Sony started denying everything when FBI and Homeland security was put on the case... because they were afraid they were going to get caught... A few operators disappeared," said another Anonymous member.

Officially Anonymous has denied any involvement in the security breach, having announced prior to the attack that it was no longer targeting Sony.

The most recent PlayStation blog updates indicates only that Sony has "begun the process of restoring the service through internal testing of the new system." Although the post by SCEE head of communications Nick Caplin acknowledges the additional delay he insists that, "our utmost priorities are the security of the network and ensuring your data is safe".

Caplin has also commented on the availability of identify theft protection in Europe, which has already been offered in America. "Creating a similar offering for the many countries within the SCEE region is a very complicated process. Each country has a different way of handling identity theft; some offer relatively sophisticated services whilst others are much more modest," said Caplin.

"We are currently in the process of identifying how we manage this situation and once the programme is ready to launch, we will provide details of exactly which services are available in each country and explain how to sign up. We hope to do this early next week," he added.

Caplin also promised more details of the European Welcome Back program, which will offer two free PlayStation 3 games from a list of five, as well as two free PSP titles from a list of four.

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Latest comments (35)

Private Industry 10 years ago
So fed up with those hackers, they really need to get a life.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game10 years ago
I'm guessing the answer about id theft protection translates as, "we will only give it if your country's laws demand it."?

Also, whether or not 2 games is enough, which for some people it will be, others it won't, having selections of just 4 or 5 isn't enough to make sure everyone's interests are covered.
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Miguel Melo Principal Software Engineer/Product Manager 10 years ago
What a clustersmurf. :(
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Show all comments (35)
Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D10 years ago
Agreed with Werner.
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Josef Brett Animator 10 years ago
This is getting ridiculous now. Just leave it alone hackers.
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Mikolaj Macioszek Translator, Big Fish Games10 years ago
I wonder if there will be compensation for people that got their data stolen, but don't have a PS3 or PSP.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 10 years ago
This has gone beyond the line for a while, they are seriously taking the piss now. I'm not a PS3 owner but this still ticks me off.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
I am wondering how third party publishers think about the compensation plans. They seemed up in arms about the lost revenue before. Now they run the risk of losing even more revenue, since players will first play the free games instead; particularly the ones from the free month of PSN+.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 10 years ago
Maybe Sony is going to do some deals on the back end for the devs, they can do things like cut the submission fees or royality fees to keep dev teams happy when the service does relaunch.

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Anthony A Studying Msc Management, Lancaster University10 years ago
"I'm guessing the answer about id theft protection translates as, "we will only give it if your country's laws demand it."? "

Nope. Things like this have too much potential to escale in losses for the firm. Profit and loss is what really drives these companies. If Sony determines that it would lose by not offering better data protection (always based on the probability of a breach happening, potential losses etc.), it will offer it. In this case, the EU is a legal labyrinth so it will probably take them time to deal with it. And I think with this incident and damage done to their brand name, they will realise its a loss-making proposition and that they risk losing consumers.

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Mihai Cozma Indie Games Developer 10 years ago
I only wonder how will this go for Sony in the long run because it looks its main competitors are about to (in the next 2 years) announce a new generation of consoles, Sony it is not even close to such thing, and now with this thing happening to them they will have a bad image for both consumers and developers.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago

I bet in the long run an new Sony console will get an online service with a different brand name. If this continues Playstation Network might be way too toxic and synonymous with identity theft.

So wait for Sony Stratosphere or some other overcompensating name for a more cloud centric PSN.
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SenZ Customer Care Assisstant FISA BATIBOUW 10 years ago
Hacker can be used for good, like helping different companies improving their security systems. In this way they are just f*cking up things for us, consumers.
@ Mihai: I think the same about the future, this will cause some damage that will prove difficult to fix, with regards at new-gen consoles and the competition.
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Wojciech Arabczyk Linux Systems Administrator 10 years ago
Had it been implemented properly (pen testing, focus on data storage safety - and not putting DRM for the games up front as the main PSN focus), there wouldn't be a breach of security in the first place. Of course hackers are to blame for the outage, but in no matter, are SONY less responsible for the breach. Hopefully they did learn an ridiculously hard lesson and implement a new version of PSN in an responsible manner. OTOH, their stocks are declining fast, so a longer wait might put them in really bad shape overall.
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Max Priddy10 years ago

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Max Priddy on 9th May 2011 4:21pm

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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 10 years ago

With SECA/SCEE got their way with the PSN design instead of what SCEJ decided to do this might not have been the case.
The PSN felt as an after though and while its improved still is not on par with Xbox Live.

I am going to counter you on the stock price its over $3 higher than the 52 week low, though still looking about $8 down on the high.
In the last few weeks the price has been in the $27-$29 range so its not suffering too much from the press over the data leak.
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10 (TEN) years old personal data was/is still being stored on Sony's servers?! Quite worrying...
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Ellliot Ward Studying Computer Games Programming, University of Derby10 years ago
Firstly I got to point out "May 31" maybe David Jenkins is trying to suggest something. But still I have to agree with you all, I know that hacking can be useful to test for leaks and to show weaknesses after a system it is implemented, but they have made their point you can hack Sony well done have a cookie, you dont need to keep doing it, your just making other peoples lives worse. I'll admit that that i own an xbox and i'm loyal to Microsoft but this still pisses me off.
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Mihai Cozma Indie Games Developer 10 years ago
@Elliot - I don't think they keep doing it, I think is Sony and the security experts they hired that keep discovering new things but they are all related to the same action that took place only once.
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Richard Van Der Giessen President & Founder, U-TRAX10 years ago
Wojciech has a point there - Sony has a big responsibility when it comes to the safety of their own and their user's data. Just like a bank usually is built in such a way that it is hard to break into. And data is the new gold, so anyone sitting on top of a lot of data should be building very thick walls, be it stone or electronic ones.

At the same time: if I do not lock my bike, does that mean it gives a thief the right to steal it? Of course not, but living in Holland, it is every day reality that it will be stolen if not locked (unless the bike looks really crap, what actually is my personal anti-theft strategy - don't tell anyone).
Unfortunately this is the current state of humanity, but it's a good sign a lot of people are now condemning this practice. It simple means the momentum is shifting, but we will still need a few (hundred?) years before we humans are all on the same wavelength on things like this. (Not that we have that time, our species will have itself killed before that happens, but that's another discussion all together.)

So my point is: keep protesting against these awful hacker practices, they at least should know nobody likes what they are doing.
And I really hope PSN is up again soon, many of my clients are seriously hurt by this in terms of sales and income, which in turn of course hurts us a lot. It is my estimate quite a large part of the games industry is affected by this, directly or indirectly.
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Benn Achilleas CEO and Founder, Playabl10 years ago
so when do I get my free* games? ;)

*paid for with my personal data
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Dom Almond10 years ago
The hackers already have all our information, so why would that change? Just get it back up, as long as our credit card details are safe then it's all good.
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Chris Paton10 years ago
I'm failing to see the point of hacking. Is it purely malicious intent? Is it underdog vs. the giant? Either way, the sympathy seems to be falling in the laps of Playstation, Playstation users and developers. It's strange to think this started over a single court case.

Hurry up and sort this out. I wanna get back online.
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Ben Meadows Senior QA Engineer, Thomson Reuters10 years ago
"Hacker no Hacking, Hacker no Hacking!" - Dora the PlayStation owner
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Felipe Barcellos Graphic & Interaction Designer Trainee, Aquiris Game Experience10 years ago
Blaming Anonymous for Sony's incompetence is ridiculous.

Oh, look! How cute, they will give you the super protection data program for free for a year!...Uops, shouldn't they give it to EVERYONE for LIFE since they are dealing with credit card data and adresses of their customers?

Maybe it's the right thing to do in this world. Want some more protection, PAY FOR IT! Really, it doens't seems right.

And about the Anynomous beeing the responsable for the data stoled... Just read the other side of the coin...

[link url=

Now, who is telling us the truth? Remeber that sony took 2 days to contact FBI about the data stoled.

Stop blaming or guessing who's fault it is. WORK TO SOLVE IT!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Felipe Barcellos on 9th May 2011 7:17pm

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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 10 years ago
I would not trust anything from Anonymous any more than I would Sony with any of my personal data right now.

As it stands given them way Anonymous works it could be people afiliated with the group that have inface breached the Sony systems.

It does not matter, Anonymous has enough to answer for already so having the wrath of the FBI out there might keep them inline for a while which is not a bad thing at all.
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Felipe so your telling me that anonymous had anything to do with it so trust criminals like giving a theft your money to take care of it thats smart real smart. Just cause they say they didn't doesn't mean they did it ya right. Im blaming you for your incompetence for believing criminals thats real smart
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Robert Douglas Studying B.A in Game Art and Design, Art Institute of Pittsburgh10 years ago
What people don't understand is that "Anonymous" can be anyone who claims to be "Anonymous"--that's kind of the point of being "Legion." No matter if one of the "heads" claims they didn't do it, the hydra still has other heads. Considering this group functions w/o any real centralized leadership, this is what happens. So while Sony may be incompetent as some claim (even to the point of making up the whole Anonymous thing), this is part of the growing pains of this hacker group. Obviously someone did hack their systems, and just because these hackers weren't a part of the main cadre of the Anonymous members who meet on IRC to organize attacks, doesn't mean they aren't part of Anonymous. It's not like they have a membership system, that's the point of calling themselves Anonymous. This has escalated a little too far...they really pushed it with the HBGary attacks, but this is on another level. Compromising the company is one thing, but compromising the user is another. What a mess.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 10 years ago
The developers need SONY as much as SONY needs them. The developers are losing money but so is SONY and i think if SONY takes a little more time in getting the network right then it will prevent more loss in the long run. Rather then beat up on SONY while they are down seeking compensation for a platform and network they ownn they should be in with SONY in solving this mess. they dont have to develope for SONY's platform nor does SONY have to keep renewing contracts and approving games. What Im saying is that they need each other and as a developer I would be angry at the hackers. And help SONY as much as I can. This is something that not only affects SONY, but developers, users and communities as a whole. The target for more attacks can be anyone. And as big corperations and institutions upgrade there networks to prevents large scale cyber attacks, hackers also evolve their methods to hack networks and software.

Im not saying Im correct. I guess there are many legal issues involved which even I dont understand. But what benefit do developers gain buy kicking SONY while they are down. The money they are losing is gone forever. They develope for their platform and network. They make money off it and its one of the top gaming platforms to develope for. Its like burning your own house down. In short term, it will probably be good, to take legal action and look to get some money out of them. But in the long term it can hurt companies even more. So I think developers should think twice before attacking SONY. And look for ways to help SONY. SONY is a big ship and Im sure if it sinks, many companies will sink with it, or at least lose a huge chunk of revenue. i for one love Playstation and its games. While the network is down ive been playing Mass effect 2, Borderlands and watching movies. I have plenty to do while the network is down.

In the mean time, let SONY recuperate and YES, BE MAD!!!, BE ANGRY!!! ... BUT at the hackers, not SONY. Today it was them, tommorow it can be nintendo, microsoft or even apple, or the bank were you make your major credit transactions. Shit happens, hopefully SONY will correct this mess and people can keep enjoying what they have to offer.
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Georg Terzenbach blog author 10 years ago
There seems to be two versions of this story on the net:

One is stating the data from 2,500 sweepstake contestants were (possibly) stolen by hackers as mentioned by Reuters. On the other hand, websites that are using material from the German news agency dpa and also some sites from Japan are reporting that Sony itself accidentally published the data.

Websites that cover this other version of the story: (English) (German) (German)

I am not able to say which article is correct.
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Dean Mitchell Studying DEVELOPER COURSE, Train2Game10 years ago
All I can say is, Sony will have the most secure network when it is back up and running. I just hope that not only Sony has learnt from this, but all companies that hold personal data and that they are checking their systems right now to find any gaps!

You are right, it effects us all, don't you just wish the world was a better place sometimes?
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Shane Sweeney Academic 10 years ago
The Hackers did good. How are they just getting in on a whim? Very worrying.

Historically this is very important. This incident will be referenced constantly going forward and was bound to happen to a big Digital Distribution company.

Don't forget Valve was hacked and had there network system compromised as well, I guess thankfully that was Pre-Steam. Be happy we are learning this now before the inevitable cloud services start. You wouldn't be able to play *any* game.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 10th May 2011 1:01am

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Andrew Bubics Software Engineer, EA Mobile10 years ago
As unfortunate and tedious as it is, I still see it as a "better now than even later" situation. It has definitely drawn a lot of attention (at least from governments and the IT sector) to the importance of security and confidentiality.

This one positive should not be overlooked in the midst of so much anger :)
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Gregory Hommel writer 10 years ago
Well I hate this as a user and I am waiting quite impatiently for PSN's return. That said, I hope they take all the time they need to get this right. I have and XBox as well but I just can't get into it anymore. If the relaunch is followed by another attack I will just give up alltogether.

One aspect I'd like to hear more about is the impact on developers. Imagine all the devs. that are trying to create/tune their online functionality with no access to or idea when they will have access to the network. Truly a sad event considering nothing was really accomplished.
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Reilly Davis10 years ago
think ppl are missing the big picture here, sure its anoying cant get on psn but for hackers to be able to take such private data so easily it really says something about sony's lack of security, and management of data.

Data that isnt being used should be put in a backup, and stored offline really it is good hackers have done this, hopefully sony will up there security and change how they store their data
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