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02 May 2011, 13:20

Sony will reactivate its suspended online services soon

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Playstation vendor Sony, recently shaken by a data leak involving millions of users' personal data, plans to reactivate some of its hacked online services in the near future. The same applies for the company's Qriocity music and movie services, according to a posting on the PlayStation blog on Sunday (1 May). Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai apologised for the incident at a press event in Tokyo.

"We're very sorry for causing troubles and worries to our customers," Hirai said at the press conference, making a long and deep bow – a deeply apologetic gesture in Japan. He promised that complimentary games will be made available to compensate all PSN users and premium PSN users and Qriocity subscribers would also receive thirty days of free service as part of the company's "Welcome Back" campaign. Hirai also asked all users to be prepared to change their password as part of the process of bringing the network back online.

According to news agency Kyodo the company has asked the FBI to get to the bottom of the hacker attack. Millions of user data records were stolen in the attack on the computer centre of Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI) in San Diego, California. Sony responded by completely shutting down the PlayStation Network for console gaming, and the Qriocity music and video service.

Sony says that, together with various external security firms, it has thoroughly checked its systems and has introduced an automated software monitoring and configuration management system to help defend against future attacks. SNEI also said that it has "expedited an already planned move of the system to a new data centre in a different location". The company is also creating the post of Chief Information Security Officer who will report to the company's CIO, Shinji Hasejima, and who will be responsible for the protection of customer data.

PlayStation3 devices will receive 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. The password change can only be completed on the PS3 that the account was set up on; otherwise, the password change will require confirmation using the email address associated with the account. Sony also plans to roll out a "Welcome Back Appreciation Program" for its customers, offering such incentives as complimentary downloads.

More than 77 million user accounts are registered with the PlayStation Network and Qriocity worldwide, 32 million of them in Europe. The PlayStation Network allows users to play games, chat and watch movies. Qriocity is the corporation's music and video service. Users' personal data had been stored in unencrypted form according to Sony; only the credit card database had been encrypted. Today, the vendor re-emphasised that there is no indication that any credit card details were stolen.


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