PSN Outage: The Answers and the Outrage

When a major system feature, like the PSN, goes down for a week without explanation everyone fears the worst. Remember back a few years ago when the whole “system clock vs. daylight savings” debacle grounded PS3s for a few days? That seems like a fond memory in light of the current situation. The PSN was hacked and that could mean your personal info is on the loose.

The Sony has announced, via email, that between April 17th and 19th it discovered that there was an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into both PSN and Qriocity user account information. This was the reason why PSN and Qriocity were turned off. In response Sony brought in a security firm to assess what happened and enhance security to provide “greater protection of your personal information.”

However, a lot of damage had already been done. Based on Sony’s email they believe that the PSN intruder walked off with your: name, address, country, email address, birthdate, PSN/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. Additional profile information including profile data, purchasing history, and billing address may have also been compromised. While there is no indication that credit card information was accessed Sony “cannot rule out the possibility.”

So what can PSN users do? First, don’t answer any unauthorized emails, as Sony points out they will never ask you for personal identification information, such as credit card or social security numbers. In addition, they suggest vigilance in checking your financial statements and getting a credit check if you think any of your credit card accounts have been affected. Sony has not indicated when PSN will be back up and running, simply assuring users that “teams are working around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible.”

One of the most unique responses to the PSN outage has been by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. As reported by 1up.com, Senator Blumenthal has sent a letter to SCEA president Jack Tretton, in which he scolds Sony for how long it took to inform customers of the external intrusion and its lack of definitive plans for future account information protection.

“Although the breach occurred nearly a week ago, Sony has not notified customers of the intrusion, or provided information that is vital to allowing individuals to protect themselves from identity theft, such as informing users whether their personal or financial information may have been compromised. Nor has Sony specified how it intends to protect these consumers,” writes Senator Blumenthal. Jack Tretton has yet to respond.

The PSN outage is hopefully winding down, but how will this effect consumer confidence in the PSN, Playstation brand, and Sony as a whole? The outage may have lasted days, but the loss of trust in our favorite game company may take years to mend.

Written by Justin Spielmann

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