April 16, 2012
Playstation Network Down Today For Maintenance
Brett Smith for Redorbit.com
For those Playstation 3 owners looking to start their week on the Internet performing covert ops or stealing cars, you'll just have to wait. Sony announced that it will be shutting down the Playstation Network (PSN) for “roughly 13 hours” of maintenance starting at 6 a.m. Pacific Time.
“During much of this time, users won´t be able to access the Playstation Store, Playstation Home, Account Management or play online,” Sony spokesman Matthew Harper wrote today on the company´s official blog.
The announcement also marked the debut of Sony´s Digital Platforms Community Management team, of which Harper is member. He said the team´s purpose is to provide information about the network and to engage customers in communication through the company´s blog and Twitter feed.
The company´s team is likely part of a new public relations effort to mitigate damage caused by disruptions in PSN service.
The network was shut down on April 20, 2011 after a "compromise of personal information as a result of an illegal intrusion,” according to a statement by the company. Customer addresses, names, birthdates, and security question answers were possibly stolen as a result of the intrusion. Sony´s public relations nightmare became worse when it was reported that the company had cut security staff in the weeks before the breach.
Earlier this month, Cody Kretsinger, who is affiliated with the hacker group LulzSec, pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a Sony security breach. It was unclear whether Kretsinger was directly associated with the PSN breach.
The security related outage caused by the data breach lasted almost one month, affected 77 million users, and also disrupted streaming video service providers on the network, including Hulu, Vudu, and Netflix. In an attempt to reach out to disgruntled customers, Sony issued a press release and held a press conference with Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai to express the company´s regrets surrounding the security breach and subsequent outage.
“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry. These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security. We take the security of our consumers´ information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data. In addition, the organization has worked around the clock to bring these services back online, and are doing so only after we had verified increased levels of security across our networks,” Hirai said.
The company took other steps to retain customers and maintain their image. On May 5, the company announced it would be providing members one free year of AllClear ID Plus, an identity theft protection program by Debix. On May 14, nearly a month after suspending service, Sony began restoring access to different geographic regions of its network. Sony launched a "Welcome Back" program in June 2011 that allowed all PSN subscribers who joined before April 20 to download two free Playstation 3 games and receive 60 free days of Playstation Plus, a PSN premium membership.
Sony announced the Playstation Network in 2006, saying it would be continuously running, free, and enable multiplayer gaming. The network also features instant messaging, downloading games, internet access, and Google search engine capabilities. It is currently available in 60 countries worldwide.