PlayStation Network and Qriocity back online from this week; Compensation detailed

May 1, 2011
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Sony has confirmed that it will begin a phased restoration of PlayStation Network and Qriocity streaming services this week, rolling out region by region, and bringing back newly-strengthened online gaming, music downloads, PlayStation Home access and more. Meanwhile Sony has also detailed its "complimentary offering and "welcome back" appreciation program" with which it hopes to sooth frustrated PSN users.

The full list of services coming back online includes online gaming on both PS3 and PSP systems, including those titles which demand online verification and downloaded games, PlayStation Home, Friends Lists and chat functionality. On the media side, there's access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity services - though only for existing subscribers right now, not, it seems, new users - as well as to download un-expired PS3/PSP/MediaGo movie rentals. Both services will now allow users to access their account management pages and reset passwords.

As for security, Sony says it has added automated software monitoring and configuration management so as to prevent future attacks, as well as giving it an "enhanced ability" to spot software intrusions, unauthorized access and unusual activity. There are extra firewalls in place, along with boosted data protection and encryption. The data center itself will be physically moved to a new, more secure location.

PS3 owners should expect a "forced" software update before they can get back online, and they'll be prompted to change their PSN account password too:

"PS3 will have a forced system software update that will require all registered PlayStation Network users to change their account passwords before being able to sign into the service. As an added layer of security, that password can only be changed on the same PS3 in which that account was activated, or through validated email confirmation, a critical step to help further protect customer data." Sony

Finally, in the hope of soothing troubled gamers missing their multi-play, Sony will be offering the "Welcome Back" appreciation program: 30 days of free membership to PlayStation Plus for existing PSN users, and 30 days free service for those already using PlayStation Plus. Sony is also planning "selected PlayStation entertainment content" for free download, though is yet to confirm which titles will be offered. Qriocity subscribers will get 30 days free service.

Sony is also saying it will help subscribers enroll in "identity theft protection services and/or similar programs" though hasn't detailed exactly how that process will work. "Welcome Back" will begin rolling out in the coming weeks, as Sony brings the services back online to a stable point.

Is Sony doing enough to win back your trust, or is 30 days of free PlayStation Plus access insufficient? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Press Release:

SOME PLAYSTATION®NETWORK AND QRIOCITY™ SERVICES TO BE AVAILABLE THIS WEEK

Phased Global Rollout of Services to Begin Regionally;
System Security Enhanced to Provide Greater Protection of Personal Information

Tokyo, May 1, 2011 – Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI, the company) announced they will shortly begin a phased restoration by region of PlayStation®Network and Qriocity™ services, beginning with gaming, music and video services to be turned on. The company also announced both a series of immediate steps to enhance security across the network and a new customer appreciation program to thank its customers for their patience and loyalty.

Following a criminal cyber-attack on the company’s data-center located in San Diego, California, U.S.A., SNEI quickly turned off the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, engaged multiple expert information security firms over the course of several days and conducted an extensive audit of the system. Since then, the company has implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information. SNEI and its third-party experts have conducted extensive tests to verify the security strength of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. With these measures in place, SCE and SNEI plan to start a phased rollout by region of the services shortly. The initial phase of the rollout will include, but is not limited to, the following:
Restoration of Online game-play across the PlayStation®3 (PS3) and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems

-This includes titles requiring online verification and downloaded games
Access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers
Access to account management and password reset
Access to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
PlayStation®Home
Friends List

Chat Functionality

Working closely with several outside security firms, the company has implemented significant security measures to further detect unauthorized activity and provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information. The company is also creating the position of Chief Information Security Officer, directly reporting to Shinji Hasejima, Chief Information Officer of Sony Corporation, to add a new position of expertise in and accountability for customer data protection and supplement existing information security personnel. The new security measures implemented include, but are not limited to, the following:

Added automated software monitoring and configuration management to help defend against new attacks
Enhanced levels of data protection and encryption
Enhanced ability to detect software intrusions within the network, unauthorized access and unusual activity patterns

Implementation of additional firewalls

The company also expedited an already planned move of the system to a new data center in a different location that has been under construction and development for several months. In addition, PS3 will have a forced system software update that will require all registered PlayStation Network users to change their account passwords before being able to sign into the service. As an added layer of security, that password can only be changed on the same PS3 in which that account was activated, or through validated email confirmation, a critical step to help further protect customer data.

The company is conducting a thorough and on-going investigation and working with law enforcement to track down and prosecute those responsible for the illegal intrusion.
“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. We take the security of our consumers’ information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data. In addition, the organization has worked around the clock to bring these services back online, and are doing so only after we had verified increased levels of security across our networks,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “Our global audience of PlayStation Network and Qriocity consumers was disrupted. We have learned lessons along the way about the valued relationship with our consumers, and to that end, we will be launching a customer appreciation program for registered consumers as a way of expressing our gratitude for their loyalty during this network downtime, as we work even harder to restore and regain their trust in us and our services.”

Complimentary Offering and “Welcome Back” Appreciation Program

While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.

The company will also rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity “Welcome Back” program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide our consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.

Central components of the “Welcome Back” program will include:

Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

Additional “Welcome Back” entertainment and service offerings will be rolled out over the coming weeks as the company returns the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to the quality standard users have grown to enjoy and strive to exceed those exceptions.

SNEI will continue to reinforce and verify security for transactions before resuming the PlayStation®Store and other Qriocity operations, scheduled for this month.
For more information about the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services intrusion and restoration, please visit http://blog.us.playstation.com. or http://blog.eu.playstation.com/


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