VIDEO: PlayStation Network Announces Relaunch After Hacking Incident

Sony president says the restoration process for Playstation Network and Qriocity has begun in certain US states—more than three weeks after the security breach occurred.

Sony reported that it began Saturday to resume in phases its recently downed online services including PlayStation Network.

PlayStation Network and Qriocity have been shut down since April 20, after an unauthorized person hacked into the accounts of an estimated 77 million users, gaining access to names, addresses, passwords and possibly credit card information. Also, information from Sony Online Entertainment was stolen, potentially affecting an additional 24.6 million users.

The phased restoration of the PlayStation Network and Qriocity will be on a country by country basis beginning in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Middle East—representing an estimated 68 million accounts.

“We have begun the phased restoration by region of some of the services, starting with online multiplayer functionality,” Sony wrote in its latest PlayStation US blog post, which includes a map that the company intends to update as services are restored. “The process has begun and some states are being turned on now, so please be patient as we reach your city and state. … It will take several hours to restore PSN throughout the entire country.”

Sony has made a mandatory PS3 system software update available, which requires all users to change their password.

The company reported that the first phase of restored services for these regions would include sign-in; online game-play across PS3 and PSP; playback of rental video content; access to third party services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and; friends list and chat functionality. Services are expected to be fully restored by the end of May. 

Also Saturday, Sony said it would begin phased restoration of “nearly all” of SOE’s online games, the reinstatement of SOE’s game forums and websites, and required password reset.

Sony emphasized that it has increased data security measures to these services.

“I’d like to send my sincere regret for the inconvenience this incident has caused you, and want to thank you all for the kind patience you’ve shown as we worked through the restoration process,” said Kazuo Hirai, executive deputy president, Sony Corp. “We are taking aggressive action at all levels to address the concerns that were raised by this incident, and are making consumer data protection a full-time, company wide commitment.”

Hirai, the Sony exec who many believe to be Sony Chairman Howard Stringer’s heir apparent, also said: “Our consumers’ safety remains our number one priority. We want to assure our customers that their personal information is being protected with some of the best security technologies available today.” 

Related, Fumiaki Sakai, president of Sony Global Solutions, has been appointed to the additional role of acting chief information security officer of Sony Network Entertainment International. He will also lead a search for a permanent officer for this newly created position. Sakai will report to Tim Schaaff, president, SNEI, as well as to Shinji Hasejima, CIO, Sony Corp.