Sony Turns Some PlayStation Network and Qriocity Services Back Online

Gamers have been locked out of online virtual worlds since hackers attacked Sony's network on April 20.

The over 60 million global PlayStation 3 and PSP gamers who have been locked out of online virtual worlds like Killzone 3, DC Universe Online and Call of Duty: Black Ops since April 20 will finally be able to return this week.

Sony Computer Entertainment is rolling out services this week for both PlayStation Network and Qriocity with enhanced system security after a cyber attack on Sony’s San Diego data center resulted in millions of gamers’ personal information being stolen. Sony said there is no evidence that credit card information was taken in this attack.

"This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. "These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security."

The initial phase of the rollout includes restoration of online gameplay for PS3 and PSP games, including downloaded games and titles that require online verification. Sony’s online hub, PlayStation Home, will be operational, and gamers will have access to Friends List and Chat functionality. Gamers will be able to access their account information and change passwords and other information. Existing subscribers will be able to access Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3 and PSP. Consumers will also be able to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo.

Sony has created the position of Chief Information Security Officer, directly reporting to Shinji Hasejima, Chief Information Officer of Sony Corporation, to protect data moving forward. Sony has worked with external security firms since the attacks to implement new security measures for its online services. The company has added new firewalls and automated software monitoring and configuration management to help defend against new attacks. In addition, the company has enhanced levels of data protection and encryption, and made it easier to detect software intrusions within the network, unauthorized access and unusual activity patterns.

"We take the security of our consumers' information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data,” said Hirai. "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."

Sony also expedited an already planned move of the system to a new data center in a different location that has been under construction and development for several months. In addition, PS3 will have 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. As an added layer of security, that password can only be changed on the same PS3 in which that account was activated, or through validated email confirmation.

On a local level, Sony will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services or similar programs. The company will release more details on this program in the near future.

Sony said it’s conducting a thorough and on-going investigation and working with law enforcement to track down and prosecute those responsible for the attack.