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Sunday, May 15, 2011

PSN Outage Timeline

- 4-Apr:
-- Sporadic outages on PSN and related services like PlayStation website logins. Responsibility supposedly claimed by activist group Anonymous.
--- Link

- 7-Apr:
-- AnonNews, which posts news from the Anonymous group, issues a press release about why PSN was attacked, (Sony's treatment of Jailbreakers, likely the legal pursuit of GeoHot,) but that "OpSony" was no longer attacking PSN. That isn't to say there aren't other people in Anonymous continuing other attacks...
--- Link

- 20-Apr:
-- Another outage begins. At first Sony says "We're aware certain functions of PlayStation Network are down."
--- Link

- 21-Apr:
-- Sony begin blaming the outage on "the possibility of targeted behaviour by an outside party."
--- Link
-- It was then confirmed the outage could last "a full day or two."
--- Link
-- Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), who run Free Realms and DC Universe Online, take the games offline briefly as a precaution.

- 23-Apr:
-- Sony admit turning off PSN on 20-Apr because "An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services."
--- Link
-- A later update explains what Sony are doing during this outage. "Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security."
--- Link
-- Somewhat unrelated, but Sony EU offer an extra three months for free when you buy a 12-month Plus membership before May 3. Turns out PSN won't be back on before then to try and claim the offer...

- 25-Apr:
-- Patrick Seybold, Corporate Communications Director, "Unfortunately, I don't have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time." "As we previously noted, this is a time intensive process and we're working to get them back online quickly."
--- Link
-- chesh from PSX-Scene claims a custom PS3 firmware "Codename: Rebug" could be the reason PSN was taken down, because it allowed the user to log into PSN with the console in a developer mode. Supposedly this allows users to add funds to their PSN wallet for free before spending that fake money on the PSN store.
--- Link
--- Link

- 26-Apr:
-- Sony finally admits "a compromise of personal information." Worryingly, "your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained."
-- "We have a clear path to have PlayStation Network and Qriocity systems back online, and expect to restore some services within a week."
-- Date taken was identified as "name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID."
-- Potentially taken was "profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers."
-- As for credit card details, "If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained."
--- Link
-- Sony explains why it took a week for them to release this info. They brought in outside experts, "and it took our experts until yesterday to understand the scope of the breach."
--- Link
-- Government officials in several countries, including the US and UK, announce that they would like to further investigate Sony on this privacy breach.
-- Valve says that Steam data is unaffected, if you had linked your PSN account through Portal 2.

- 27-Apr:
-- Hulu offer a week free for Hulu Plus subscribers. Users have two weeks to claim an email coupon.
-- "No personal Hulu Plus account information was compromised as part of the Sony intrusion."
-- The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) reminds us that if PSN user data is stored in the UK, (unlikely,) then it is subject to the Data Protection Act, which could result in a £500,000 fine.
-- The first federal class action lawsuit is submitted to the Northern District Court of California.
--- Link

- 28-Apr:
-- An update to the FAQ from Sony says that a new firmware will arrive with the restart of PSN, requiring all users to update their account passwords.
-- Also, the network infrastructure is being physically rebuilt, moving to a new, more secure data center.
-- Credit card data was encrypted and there was no evidence it was taken.
--- Link
-- SOE says its customer data is safe and that only PlayStation Network and Qriocity were affected. "SOE's systems and databases are separate from PSN's."

- 29-Apr:
-- Another update to the FAQ has Sony "evaluating ways to show appreciation for your extraordinary patience as we work to get these services back online."
--- Link
-- Homeland Security and FBI in the US are in contact with Sony about any potential criminal activity.
--- Link

- 1-May:
-- US House of Representatives members send a letter to Sony enquiring about the breach.
--- Link
-- Sony holds a press conference in Japan to explain the situation. They announce plans to offer free downloads of unidentified "content," 30 days of free PlayStation Plus access to new and existing members and 30 days of free Qriocity service, plus the length of the outage.
-- Services will "begin a phased restoration by region" this week and full services will be back online "within the month."
--- Link

- 2-May:
-- There are rumors that credit card numbers were offered for sale on forums and even offered to Sony to buy it back. Patrick Seybold says "to my knowledge there is no truth to this report of a list, or that Sony was offered an opportunity to purchase the list."
-- SOE takes their games offline again. At first it is announced that credit card data from 12,700 accounts from 2007 was exposed on 16-Apr or 17-Apr. Later it is revealed that personal data from 24.6 million accounts was also taken.
--- Link
-- Only 900 of the credit cards were still valid.
--- Link
-- Despite earlier claiming that SOE and PSN systems were previously unrelated Sony are now saying "While the two systems are distinct and operated separately, given that they are both under the SONY umbrella, there is some degree of architecture that overlaps. The intrusions were similar in nature. This is NOT a second attack; new information has been discovered as part of our ongoing investigation of the external intrusion in April."

- 4-May:
-- Sony reply to Congress with an open letter saying data for all 77 million PSN and Qriocity accounts were leaked, along with 12.3 million credit card numbers.
-- "We discovered that the intruders had planted a file on one of our Sony Online Entertainment servers named 'Anonymous' with the words 'We are Legion.'" Despite that evidence, Sony still says it has yet to identify the "individual(s) responsible for the breach."
--- Link
-- Anonymous are said to respond that the group "has never been known to have engaged in credit card theft."
--- Link
--- Link
-- SOE plans to give all DC Universe Online players a free month and "Batman-Inspired mask" as compensation for the current outage.
--- Link

- 5-May:
-- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenas Sony to gather information about the breach, specifically regarding Sony's six-day delay in telling PSN users about the exposure.
-- Purdue professor and security expert Dr. Gene Spafford tells the House of Representatives subcommittee that, according to security mailing lists he subscribes to, "individuals who work in security and participate in the Sony network" had learned "several months ago" that PSN was hosted on servers running "very old versions of Apache software that were unpatched and had no firewall installed." "...they had reported these [issues] in an open forum that was monitored by Sony employees, but had seen no response and no change or update to the software." "...two to three months prior to the incident where the break-ins occurred."

- 6-May:
-- Sony announce that the rebuilding is complete and final testing is taking place.
--- Link
-- SCEA announces a partnership with Debix to offer 12 months of identity theft protection free of charge to US users.
--- Link
-- Sony president Sir Howard Stringer offers a formal apology on PlayStation.Blog.
--- Link
-- SCEE say they would like to do something similar in Europe, but it is complex across so many different countries. Users will be offered free games, (PS3 choose 2 from a selection of 5, PSP owners 2 of 4.)
--- Link

- 7-May:
-- The Financial Times speaks to two members of Anonymous who admit that it was likely that some element of the group were behind the attacks. "If you say you are Anonymous, and do something as Anonymous, then Anonymous did it."
--- Link
-- Another deadline missed as Sony announce a further delay to restarting the service, saying that the extent of SOE leak was unknown when announcing the restart previously at the Japanese press conference on 1-May.
--- Link
-- "Sony said on Saturday it had removed from the Internet the names and partial addresses of 2,500 sweepstakes contestants that had been stolen by hackers and posted on a website," Reuters reports. This was a competition from 2001 and Sony had the website shut down. Sony comments: "The website was out of date and inactive when discovered as part of the continued attacks on Sony."

- 9-May:
-- Sony reiterate that the servives will be fully online by 31-May.
--- Link
-- Capcom claim big losses because of the outage: "the resulting outage obviously costing us hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in revenue that were planned for within our budget"
--- Link
-- Counter claims about the version of Apache that Sony was running appear to show that Sony was up to date, counter to Dr. Gene Spafford's testimony.
--- Link

- 12-May:
-- Several game store staff report PlayStation 3 trade-ins have doubled in the past few weeks, with most shoppers exchanging their consoles for Xbox 360s or cash. There was also an increased trade-in rate for the PS3 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
--- Link

- 14-May:
-- SOE announce further compensation to players, with extra playtime and in-game items promised.
--- Link
-- Firmware v3.61 goes live in preparation for a PSN restart.
--- Link
-- The phased restart begins including gameplay, but not the Store.
--- Link

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PSN Restarting

- Big news as the PlayStation Network begins its phased restoration.
- Online gameplay should already be back in North America.
- Expect a new firmware and a prompt to change your password.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Sony to offer freebies to PSN users to apologize for the data leak

- Sony held a press conference to talk about the recent data theft from PlayStation Network.
- PSN should be coming back in phases across regions soon.
- Users should get some free downloadable content from their local Sony PSN Store.
- Users will get 30 days of free PlayStation Plus service.
- There will be a title update coming that will force users to change their passwords, (verified using the original console the account was created on, or via email.)
- Full press release:

This morning, a press conference took place in Tokyo, Japan and the following press release is now being distributed worldwide. We would also like to once again thank you for your patience.

On 1 May 2011, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI, the company) announced they will shortly begin a phased restoration by region of PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, beginning with gaming, music and video services to be turned on.

The company also announced both a series of immediate steps to enhance security across the network and a new customer appreciation programme to thank its customers for their patience and loyalty.

Following a criminal cyber attack on the company's data centre located in San Diego, California, USA, SNEI quickly turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, engaged multiple expert information security firms over the course of several days, and conducted an extensive audit of the system.

Since then, the company has implemented a variety of new security measures to provide greater protection of personal information. SNEI and its third party experts have conducted extensive tests to verify the security strength of PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.

With these measures in place, SCE and SNEI plan to start a phased roll-out by region of the services shortly. The initial phase of the roll-out will include, but is not limited to, the following:

Restoration of online gameplay across PlayStation 3 and PSP systems, including titles requiring online verification and downloaded games.
Access to Q Music Unlimited for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers.
Access to account management and password reset.
Access to download unexpired movie rentals on PS3, PSP and Media Go.
PlayStation Home.
Friends List.
Chat functionality.

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 to 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.

The company also expedited an already planned move of the system to a new data centre 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, a critical step to help further protect customer data.

The company is conducting a thorough and ongoing investigation and working with law enforcement to track down and prosecute those responsible for the illegal intrusion.

"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. 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 programme 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."

Complimentary Offering and "Welcome Back" Appreciation Programme

While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programmes. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in each region.

The company will also roll out the PlayStation Network and Qriocity "Welcome Back" programme, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide our consumers with a selection of service options and premium content as an expression of the company's appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.

Central components of the "Welcome Back" programme will include:

Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download. Specific details of this content will be announced in each region soon.
All existing PlayStation Network customers will be provided with 30 days free membership in the PlayStation Plus premium service. Current members of PlayStation Plus will receive 30 days free service.
Q Music Unlimited subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

Additional "Welcome Back" entertainment and service offerings will be rolled out over the coming weeks as the company returns the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to the quality standard users have grown to enjoy and strive to exceed those exceptions.

SNEI will continue to reinforce and verify security for transactions before resuming the PlayStation Store and other Qriocity operations, scheduled for this month.

For more information about the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services intrusion and restoration, keep an eye on PlayStation.Blog at blog.eu.playstation.com, twitter.com/PlayStationEU and eu.playstation.com for the latest updates.
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