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PlayStation Network Returns Next Week, Sony Offers Perks For Downtime
May 1, 2011 02:45 PM

Almost two weeks into the longest PlayStation Network blackout in history, Sony held a press conference in Tokyo to update the community on the status of the console. At the event, Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, informed attendees what personal information might have been stolen, what Sony is doing about it, when the PlayStation Network will go back online, and what the “Welcome Back” incentive will be.

First, Kazuo Hirai offered his “deepest and sincerest apologies” for compromising users’ account information. He went on to confirm that personal data was stolen, but a Sony blog post reports that “no evidence [of] credit card data was taken”. However, as we reported earlier, there is still a chance that hackers could have gotten a hold of credit card numbers and expiration dates, which is why it is still advisable to constantly check your billing statements.

In response to the attack, Hirai also explained that they have “implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information”. Along with firewalls and stronger encryption, Sony created a Chief Information Security Officer position. This individual will be responsible for protecting customer data with the hope that future attacks will not decimate their entire network or endanger player security.

Sony also announced they will begin a slow roll out of its services sometime next week. The roll out will be done region by region with concrete times to be revealed later. In addition to the return of the Network and Qriocity, they will also give a “Welcome Back” gift to customers. This token of appreciation will give all PlayStation 3 users 30 days of PSN Plus for free. This is normally a subscription program providing access to exclusive content including games, demos, and trailers. Sony will also be offering extra exclusive content to those who subscribed to the service before the blackout; however, the company did not elaborate further. Sony will activate the following features next week:

  • 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

However, it is important to note that the PlayStation Store–the app that lets you download content to your console–will not be immediately available. Sony was unable to give a concrete date when users can access the store, but they assured the community all features will be back by the end of May.

It is great to see that Sony has finally gotten things under control and that the Network will return next week. However, I am uneasy about the strength of the updated security measures. Sony needs stronger protection and the press release does outline a long list of updates, but I still wonder how secure the system will be. If hackers chose to invest their time and attack Sony before, who is to say they cannot do it again? Hackers are unrelenting when they have a target in mine. I only hope Sony’s new system is strong enough and will be constantly updated to prevent future downtime. Moreover, the “Welcome Back” gift is a nice but somewhat inadequate especially if the PlayStation Store comes online in later than sooner May. This would only allow a week or so to actually experience what PSN Plus has to offer. What are your thoughts on the free PSN Plus? Is that enough to make up for 2 weeks of down time? Let us know in the comments below.

Links: Sony PlayStation

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