If you've attempted to login to the PlayStation Network over the last three weeks you've surely seen the bulletin Sony posted stating that the service "is currently undergoing maintenance". The online network was the victim of an illegal "intrusion" over three weeks ago by hackers who managed to obtain everything from user name, address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and possibly even credit card number and expiration date.
Originally planned to come back online with limited services last week, Sony has instead decided to delay the relaunch of the service while it conducts "further testing of the incredibly complex system". The rollout was expected to be a phased approach by region and would initially include restoration of online gameplay across the PS3 and PSP systems, access to Sony's music service Qriocity, PlayStation Home, and access to your Friends List and chat functionality.
Well that plan got shelved last week as Sony continues to work diligently to rebuild the entire network infrastructure to enhance security and tighten controls across its PSN and Qriocity services. Given the extent of the attack, Sony's Patrick Seybold took to the PlayStation Blog to inform users that they plan on relaunching the services after they thoroughly "test the system’s strength" and ensure that customer data is safe.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Tokyo-based Sony spokesperson Shigenori Yoshi said the company is currently improving security and expect to have services fully restored by May 31. When the service resumes later this month, Sony will make it mandatory for all users of the PSN to download a new firmware update and change their account passwords.
While no official blame has been laid as to the identity of the attackers, in a letter to the US Congressional committee investigating the incident, Kaz Hirai, chairman of the electronics giant, said that the intruders planted a file on Sony Online Entertainment servers containing the name "Anonymous" and the words "We are Legion" which is part of the organization's motto. The international hacktivism group has since denied involvement in the intrusion via anonops.blogspot.com with an audio message stating that "while it may be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves, AnonOps was not related to this incidence." The group also states in the audio message that all this negative attention that is being drawn to them could be helping their cause through spreading the Anonymous message and turning opposition into support.
Hirai also states in his letter that major credit card companies have not reported any fraudulent activity as a result of the breach, although Sony still cannot rule out whether credit card information was obtained.
The breach came at a bad time for PS3 fans with the recent releases of Mortal Kombat and Portal 2, and Splash Damage's heavily multiplayer-focused shooter, Brink, which made its debut this week. Currently no online play is available, effectively disabling those modes on all three highly anticipated games until service resumes.
In an update on the PlayStation Blog yesterday, Seybold said that while he can't give an exact date for restoration of service, "it will likely be at least a few more days".
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