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Home » Featured, News

Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai provides details on the PSN outage, establishes the ‘Welcome Back’ program

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 May 201112 Comments

Today President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Kazuo Hirai answered many of the questions PSN users have had during the PlayStation Network blackout and detailed the company’s plan to win back the trust and respect of its consumer base during a press conference in Tokyo.

Recognizing the severity of the system’s external breach Hirai touched on the origins of the cyber-attack which we now know targeted the San Diego, CA (U.S.A.) data center. Upon verification of the hack, Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI) quickly shut down all PlayStation Network services and subsequent Qriocity music service to suppress increased vulnerability.

Following the sudden and immediate suspension of the PSN, SNEI began a thorough audit of the system utilizing the aid of many information security firms. Much of the now eleven day suspension was spent combing the system to determine the extent of the intrusion. Although Sony again restated its position that it does not believe that user credit card information was obtained in the intrusion, all users would be best served to keep an eye on their personal credit information.

In order to bolster the security features of the network SNEI consulted many independent online security agencies and has established the position of Chief Information Security Officer to provide the PSN with more sophisticated security measures and enhance company-wide accountability. The initial security measures include but are not limited to the following:

  • Increased automated software monitoring and configuration management
  • Enhanced data protection and encryption
  • Enhanced capacity to detect in and all network intrusions
  • Additional firewalls
  • Expedited relocation of the system’s data center
  • A mandatory system update requiring all users to change their account passwords
  • Passwords may now only be changed on the same system with which it was activated

Not willing to turn a blind eye to those who carried out the intrusion, the company announced it is in the midst of an intensive investigation to uncover and prosecute all responsible. Sony also revealed that it is currently working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to track the intruders. The extent to which the FBI is involved is unknown but the mere involvement of the U.S. federal agency demonstrates Sony’s willingness to utilize all available resources to determine the guilty parties.

With proper security measures now believed to be in place SNEI announced that a regional reactivation of PSN services will begin in the coming week. The initial wave of returning services will include but will not be limited to:

  • Restoration of online gameplay
  • Access to account management, movie rentals and Qriocity
  • PlayStation®Home
  • Friends lists
  • Chat functionality

“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. Our global audience of PlayStation Network and Qriocity consumers was disrupted. We have learned lessons along the way about the valued relationship with our consumers, and to that end, we will be launching a customer appreciation program for registered consumers as a way of expressing our gratitude for their loyalty during this network downtime, as we work even harder to restore and regain their trust in us and our services.” – Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation

‘Welcome Back’ Program
In an effort to stem the anger and frustration of the millions of worldwide PSN users Kaz Hirai announced the implementation of the ‘Welcome Back’ program. Over the coming weeks Sony has pledged to roll out a series of regionally tailored content bundles as a showing of goodwill. The principal elements of the program will include:

  • The offering of select content for free (region specific, details forthcoming)
  • A free 30-day membership of PlayStation Plus for all users (current members receive 30 additional days free)
  • 30 days of free service for Music Unlimited for all Qriocity subscribers

Well there you have it. Although undeniably belated, this is the statement that PS3 users and developers have been waiting for. As consumers we have a much better understanding of what took place and how Sony plans on rectifying the situation.

Most importantly, PS3 gamers around the world can get back look forward getting back to business as usual beginning next week.

Before you go let us know what you think of the ordeal. Are you satisfied with the information presented in the press conference and does the promise of complimentary content sufficiently satisfy you?

For more information on the PSN blackout head on over to our PSN outage running diary.