Sony: PSN Restoration in Final Stages, Complimentary ID Protection for All Customers

It appears PSN is about to go back online.
It’s been more than two weeks since PlayStation 3 owners played games on the PlayStation Network, but Sony promises the end of the outage is near. Restoration of PSN is in its final stages, the Japanese tech giant announced, and gamers will be able to return knowing they’re protected by a complimentary identity theft protection service.

Posting on the official PlayStation Blog, Sony communications guru Patrick Seybold said the company’s global network and security teams began the the final stages of internal testing of the new system yesterday. Though Seybold did not provide an official activation date for PSN, it appears the service could be back online as soon as today.

As previously mentioned, we’ve been working around the clock to rebuild the network and enhance protections of your personal data,” Seybold stated. “It’s our top priority to ensure your data is safe when you begin using the services again. We understand that many of you are eager to again enjoy the PlayStation Network and Qriocity entertainment services that you love, so we wanted you to be aware of this milestone and our progress. We will provide additional updates as soon as we can.”

Sony also confirmed that it will provide identity theft protection services for all its customers, starting immediately with all U.S. users. Sony has partnered with Debix to offer its AllClear ID Plus service at no cost to PSN, Qriocity, and SOE account holders for 12 months. Sony said it will begin sending out activation emails over the next few days, and customers must register by June 18. The service includes up to $1 million in insurance coverage for identity restoration costs, legal defense expenses, and lost wages.

A similar service will be provided for PSN users around the world, Sony promised, but the company is still working out the details and will make an official announcement soon.

One more bit of news regarding the PSN outage: Sony CEO Howard Stringer has issued a personal apology via a letter to all PSN, Qriocity, and SOE customers. The complete letter reads:

Dear Friends,

I know this has been a frustrating time for all of you.

Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we’ve all experienced and on fixing it. We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less.

To date, there is no confirmed evidence any credit card or personal information has been misused, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We are also moving ahead with plans to help protect our customers from identity theft around the world. A program for U.S. PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers that includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user was launched earlier today and announcements for other regions will be coming soon.

As we have announced, we will be offering a Welcome Back package to our customers once our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are up and running. This will include, among other benefits, a month of free PlayStation Plus membership for all PSN customers, as well as an extension of subscriptions for PlayStation Plus and Music Unlimited customers to make up for time lost.

As a company we — and I — apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused by this attack. Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, we have teams working around the clock and around the world to restore your access to those services as quickly, and as safely, as possible.

I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.

As a result of what we discovered we notified you of the breach. Our investigation is ongoing, and we are upgrading our security so that if attacks like this happen again, our defenses will be even stronger.

In the last few months, Sony has faced a terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But now we are facing a very man-made event — a criminal attack on us — and on you — and we are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world to apprehend those responsible.

In the coming days, we will restore service to the networks and welcome you back to the fun. I wanted to personally reach out and let you know that we are committed to serving you to the very best of our ability, protecting your information better than ever, and getting you back to what you signed up for — all the games and great entertainment experiences that you expect from Sony.

With best regards,
Howard Stringer

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