After 26 days of downtime, Sony has announced that the PlayStation Network is up and running once again. After customers apply mandatory security patch 3.61 to their PS3s and change their passwords, they will again have access to online play, the media service Qriocity, and third-party services including Netflix and Hulu.
Patrick Seybold, Sony’s senior director of Corporate Communications and Social Media, first acknowledged that the service was down on April 20 via the official PlayStation blog. The next day, Seybold estimated that it would be “a full day or two” until the service was back up.
On May 14, nearly a month later, Seybold posted again saying that the service was being brought back online in both Europe and North America. The Northeast and California got service back first, and as of noon today, all US states are online according to Sony’s status map. Full restoration of services, such as the PSN store and purchasing through Qriocity, is scheduled for the end of May.
It has not been a short month for Sony: in the days that followed the April 20 announcement, Sony admitted the service had been hacked and that 77 million registered accounts and their data, many with attached credit card numbers, had been exposed. Some users reported possibly related credit card fraud, and later Sony reported they would offer PSN members a year of identity theft protection.
On May 2, Sony Online Entertainment was attacked separately, exposing 24.6 million more accounts and at least 12,700 non-US credit or debit card numbers. On May 4, Sony failed to attend a House hearing on the attacks, but did send a letter claiming that the hacking group Anonymous had undertaken activities to bring PSN down.
Now that the service is back up, Sony is attempting to make good on many fronts. Seybold said the latest patch is critical in making PSN “significantly more secure,” and Sony has appointed a new chief information security officer, Fumiaki Sakai, who is also president of Sony Global Solutions.
On the customer service end, Sony has planned a “Welcome Back” package that includes a free month of PlayStation Plus as well as select entertainment content for free download (details on this bit of compensation are still to come). Gamers playing select Sony titles, including DC Universe Online and Everquest, will receive a month of free playtime.
According to Seybold’s Twitter account, the new PSN service is a bit unstable because Sony is receiving a flood of password resets. Sony has pulled it offline again at least once for 30 minutes to clear the password queue.