Tag Archives | Playstation Network

PlayStation Network Outage: Now It’s the Worst One Ever, Right?

(Update: Sony says the PlayStation Network is on its way back to full service.)

Back on April 26th, when Sony’s PlayStation Network outage was less than a week old and we didn’t yet know how bad the security breach was, I said it might be the worst outage ever. Some commenters argued that I was exaggerating, pointing out that the 2007 Xbox Live outage was, at that point, longer.

Okay, it’s close to three weeks later. The PlayStation Network outage continues, it involves the leakage of personal data, and we don’t know when it’ll end. Anyone want to argue that it’s not the single worst fiasco of this type ever?

For kicks, I decided to see how it compared to other well-known service interruptions that impacted millions of people and which lasted for at least a couple of hours. Here’s a chart…

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Playstation Network Down Indefinitely, Again

Sony has once again missed its own timeframe to get the Playstation Network back online, as the company tries to secure its network after a devastating security breach.

Sony said last Sunday that it expected to bring PSN back up by the end of the week, but those plans were ruined by a separate attack on Sony Online Entertainment, the company’s massive multiplayer gaming service.

“We were unaware of the extent of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers, and we are taking this opportunity to conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system,” Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold wrote on the official Playstation Blog. He offered no estimate of when service will be restored.

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Sir Howard Speaks Out

Sony’s Chairman and CEO, Sir Howard Stringer, has released a letter to PlayStation Network users; read it after the jump. (Me, I would have edited out the “even” in the bit about making the network’s “defenses even stronger.”)

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Sony: “Anonymous” Helped Make the Security Breach Happen

If I have this straight, Sony says that “Anonymous” isn’t behind the PlayStation Network security breach–but by launching a denial-of-service attack on the company, it helped set the stage for the breach.

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Playstation Network Returns (Partly) This Week, Sony Apologizes

Sony has finally opened up about the details of the Playstation Network attack, including how it occurred, when PSN service will return and what users will get in return for two weeks without service and a wealth of personal information stolen.

Sony also apologized, at last, during the Tokyo news conference where it announced these details, with three executives bowing for seven seconds in line with Japanese custom. “We’d like to extend our apologies to the many PlayStation Network and Qriocity users who we worried,” said Kaz Hirai, head of Sony’s gaming division. “We potentially compromised their customer data. We offer our sincerest apologies.”

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Playstation Network Outage: Still a Huge Mess

As expected, the tale of Sony’s Playstation Network security breach and resulting down time continues to get more complicated. What started as a simple outage is now a multifaceted tale of stolen data, communication failures, law suits, government inquiries and a whole lot of frustrated gamers.

Here’s a rundown of the many heads the PSN outage and breach has spawned as we head into the second weekend without service:

  • Security experts, listening in on underground forums, claimed that PSN’s hackers finagled 2.2 million credit card numbers, and now wish to sell the list for upwards of $100,000. Over at Ars Technica, some readers are claiming that they’ve experienced credit card fraud, and think the PSN breach is to blame. However, the experts who originally reported the credit card thefts are now backing off their original claims, and stressing that they can’t verify the information. Sony’s sticking to its original story, that it has no evidence of credit card theft, but can’t rule out the possibility.
  • Congress, meanwhile, is getting involved. A House of Representatives subcommittee has sent 13 questions to Sony, demanding answers by May 6. Some of these questions have already been answered. For instance, Sony already said when it became aware of the breach (April 19). Other questions are remain unanswered, such as why Sony can’t say with certainty that credit card numbers weren’t taken. Other governments around the world are also demanding answers from Sony.
  • There’s still no word on exactly when PSN service will return (Sony said on Tuesday that “we expect to have some services up and running within a week”). On the bright side, Sony suggests that it’ll try to make up for the down time with a goodwill gesture of sorts. “We are currently evaluating ways to show appreciation for your extraordinary patience as we work to get these services back online,” says the company’s latest FAQ.
  • Meanwhile, Sony continues to take heat for the way it’s responded to the PSN security breach and outage. Over at Gamasutra, Colin Campbell puts aside the incident itself and argues that Sony’s response will cause long-term damage to the Playstation brand. Think of it as a longer, more thoughtful version of my rant on Sony’s refusal to apologize.


Okay, Sony, Time to Say “Sorry” for the PSN Breach

Maybe I’m just over-sensitive, but it strikes as odd — and maybe a little arrogant — that Sony hasn’t apologized for the Playstation Network breach that resulted in stolen passwords and personal information.

I’ve read all seven of Sony’s updates on the official Playstation Blog, and not a single “sorry” or “apologize” is uttered throughout. The most Sony can muster is this: “We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern this outage has caused, and rest assured that we’re going to get the services back online as quickly as we can.”

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Playstation Network Breach: It’s Really, Really Bad

Sony’s Playstation Network outage has gone from one of the worst Internet service interruptions ever to one of the worst security failures in consumer electronics history.

If you’re one of the 70 million members of the Playstation Network or Qriocity services, all of your personal and login information is compromised. Everything. That includes your name, address, e-mail address, birthday, user name and password. Your profile data, purchase history and password security answers may be compromised as well.

Sony says there’s no evidence that credit card information was taken, but it “cannot rule out the possibility.” Sony’s encouraging PSN users to keep a close watch on their credit card statements, and has provided information for users who want to set up fraud alerts. You can find those details at the official Playstation Blog.

As for when PSN will be back up, Sony says it has “a clear path” to bring systems back online, and hopes to restore “some services within a week.” However, Sony now has much bigger problems, having let a wealth of personal information, and possibly financial information, fall into the wrong hands.

All users will be getting a notification from Sony via e-mail, advising them to change their passwords for PSN (once it’s back online) and any other service for which the same password is used. Users are also warned to watch out for e-mail, postal and telephone scams. Understatement of the year goes to this sentence in Sony’s letter: “We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience.”


Even Once the PlayStation Network is Back, This Thing is Far From Over

[UPDATE: The news got way worse after I wrote this.]

I’m not a PlayStation Network member, or much of a gamer at all. But I’m kind of fascinated by Internet outages–and the one currently affecting Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity service is one for the record books. In fact, it may be the worst one of all time, if you multiply the number of people impacted by the hours of the outage. And it continues on, with no evidence that it’s going to end soon. (Sony, which blithely said it might last for a day or two at first, is no longer making any predictions.)

[UPDATE: Some commenters have rightly reminded me of the two-week Xbox Live outage back in 2008–a less interesting, but lengthier (so far!) service interruption.)

A very basic timeline of events to date:

  • In January, Sony sued jailbreaking guru George Hotz and others over a PlayStation jailbreak that permitted the installation of unapproved apps.
  • On April 4th, the online shadow army known as “Anonymous,” upset over Sony’s lawsuit against PlayStation hacker George Hotz, managed to use denial-of-service attracks to take down PlayStation.com.
  • On April 11th, Sony settled with Hotz.
  • On Wednesday of last week, Sony’s PlayStation Blog said that the company was aware “certain functions” of the PlayStation Network were down.
  • On Thursday, it said that it might be “a full day or two” before things got back to normal.
  • On Friday, it said that an “external intrusion” had impacted PSN and Qriocity services, and that it had shut them off until it could ensure “smooth and secure” operation.
  • Also on Friday, Anonymous denied that it had caused the outage.
  • On Saturday, it said that it was undertaking a “time-consuming” rebuilding of its network infrastructure.
  • On Monday, it said that it was working to restore the services “quickly,” but had no information about how long it would be until they returned.
  • Today’s Tuesday, so if the outage persists for another day, it’ll have gone on for a week. I can’t think of any major Internet service that’s been toast for so long.

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Playstation Network Still Down as Sony Rebuilds

The Playstation Network outage that began last Wednesday has continued through the weekend, as Sony rebuilds the network in the wake of a security breach.

Sony is no longer estimating when PSN will be back online. On Thursday, the company only expected the outage to last a day or two.

Sony confirmed on Friday that the network was hacked, or in spokesman Patrick Seybold’s words, affected by an “external intrusion.” This caused Sony to shut down PSN entirely, along with the Qriocity service. Now, Seybold says the company is working around the clock to restore access.

“Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure,” Seybold wrote on the official Playstation Blog. “Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security.”

Hacking group Anonymous claims that it wasn’t involved in the attack, but didn’t rule out the possibility that individual members acted alone. The group, which has a vendetta against Sony for suing PS3 hacker George Hotz, has previously attacked Sony websites.

The big unanswered question now, aside from when PSN will be back up, is whether any user information or credit card numbers were exposed during the breach.  Answering that question, I’d argue, should be the top priority.

[UPDATE: An unnamed Sony source told Playstation Universe that PSN’s Japanese servers may be restored on Monday, and that U.S. and Europe servers would follow on Tuesday. So far, this information is unconfirmed.]

[UPDATE 2: Sony told PC World that it doesn’t yet know whether credit card numbers were stolen.]

[UPDATE 3: Sony now says all users’ personal information was compromised, and credit cards may have been compromised as well. More details here.]