While the news this week has mostly been concerned with wishing Osama bin Laden bon voyage on his trip to Davy Jones Locker, the other biggish news is that of Sony and their seriously f’d up PlayStation Network issues stemming from a hack with criminal intent back in mid-April. We now find out that the attack was the second hack of a Sony server farm, and that an initial attack to gather the personal data of account holders was successfully attempted the day before the PSN hack… April 16th and 17th. In this attack the Sony Online Entertainment service was under siege with data being stolen and over 24 million users at risk for information or ID issues down the road. Ouch!!
Adding insult to injury, Sony’s business and security practices will be publicly hacked by a U.S. Congressional committee with lawmakers looking into the time it took Sony to notify the FBI and other law enforcement/security organizations regarding both the break-in and theft of information. Yet, some are saying that the intrusion, while criminal, may not have put account holders info, especially their credit card information (numbers, dates, CCVs), at risk… rather, the hack may have been “modders” (those intent on modifying software/hardware mainly to tweak, if not outright change, the gaming experience, usually to their own benefit) simply breaking in to mess around with no intention on stealing sensitive financial or personal information. However, Sony is also saying that the attacker was possibly the hacker group “Anonymous”, though that group has adamantly denied any part in the network hack.
Nevertheless, the terrific Ars Technica has reported that, at the very least, “Anonymous” may have provided a diversion for the actual attack (according to Sony reps), and the giant Japanese company is already begging out of hearings on the subject until they feel their ready to talk in person to legislative authorities about the security breach. Meanwhile, they’ve released a statement indicating their position on the breach.
Though the Sony PlayStation Network was due to be back up today, there’s the chance this may be put off for later this week or next, as Sony’s also introducing a few changes, including a firmware overhaul of the PS3. These changes, which may or may not include some fun or really useful updates/features, will definitely be about security… forcing all users to change their PSN account/login information in order to access any features. This will effectively reset the system for use on the upgraded, and hopefully more secure, PlayStation Network. That said, Sony will also be appeasing angry gamers, as well as attempting to indemnifying themselves against potential lawsuits and possible fines. Hulu is also offering credit to their Plus subscribers due to the outage, but there’s been no real word for Netflix or Vudu users (though Netflix users have been largely unaffected, see below).
Needless to say, gamers and other PlayStation addicts users will be quite happy once the service returns… This means full access for those who use MLB.TV, HuluPlus and other video apps as well as Qriocity music service. Netflix users, a tenacious bunch, have found that the service was accessible using the PS3 app… after a few login attempts most Netflix Instant Watch services have been available for use during The Massive PlayStation Network Outage of 2011. For the most part, it’s those who enjoy multi-play slaughterfests that will truly appreciate having the service back. Playing outside just isn’t as intense.
Expect the PlayStation Network to be back up any day now… including access for all services. This will require you to complete a new set of security login/user queries prior to full access.