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PSN Phasing Back Into Existence With Enhanced Security

| 1 May 2011 06:28
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Sony will soon restore the PlayStation Network in a "phased rollout," adding enhanced security features and giving away customer appreciation bonuses.

The recent attack on Sony's PlayStation Network captivated many nations around the world as people began to wonder just how safe their personal data was in the digital realm. With the PSN shutdown now approaching 11 days, Sony has announced that it'll be restoring certain aspects of the service this week, while other features will return in phases.

The "phased rollout" of services will begin with the restoration of the ability for PS3 and PSP owners to play games online, which is a big one. Logging in to the PSN will require users to change their passwords as part of newly implemented security measures. The first phase will also include returned access to Qriocity music services, to unexpired movie rentals, PlayStation Home, PSN friends lists, and chat.

The PlayStation Store won't be brought back immediately, much to the chagrin of game developers that rely on it for revenue. Sony says it'll "continue to reinforce and verify security for transactions before resuming the PlayStation Store and other Qriocity operations, scheduled for this month." This appears to mean that the rest of the PSN will be back sometime in May.

Sony also detailed the measures that it took to ensure that it won't be attacked again in the same manner. Here they are, straight from Sony's press release:

Working closely with several outside security firms, the company has implemented significant security measures to further detect unauthorized activity and provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information. The company is also creating the position of Chief Information Security Officer, directly reporting to Shinji Hasejima, Chief Information Officer of Sony Corporation, to add a new position of expertise in and accountability for customer data protection and supplement existing information security personnel. The new security measures implemented include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Added automated software monitoring and configuration management to help defend against new attacks
  • Enhanced levels of data protection and encryption
  • Enhanced ability to detect software intrusions within the network, unauthorized access and unusual activity patterns
  • Implementation of additional firewalls

Sony is still investigating the attack and plans to prosecute whoever's responsible to the full extent of the law, one would assume. Beyond words, Sony plans to apologize in two ways for the PSN downtime and the possibility of a stranger now knowing where its customers live. First, Sony is going to provide a "complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs." This will occur at the local level, with more details coming later. Second, a "welcome back" program will offer free PlayStation Network downloads, a free 30-day membership to PlayStation Plus, and a free 30-day membership to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity. The exact content to be made available for free download will also be region specific and announced at a later date.

Best case scenario here is that the attacker(s) didn't actually steal any personal data, which isn't 100% confirmed yet, and every PSN user will just get a bunch of free games or DLC and access to premium PlayStation Plus features for being a good sport. For me personally, the badness level of having my identity stolen versus the goodness level of getting a videogame I want for free is a toss up, so this is a step in the right direction.

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