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May 6, 2011

Sony CEO apologises for hack, announces US identity protection scheme

by Darren Allan

In a post on the PlayStation blog, CEO Howard Stringer has broken his silence on the PSN/SOE hacking incident and penned a letter to his customers.

He apologised for the episode, naturally, and reiterated the line that there is no “confirmed evidence” any credit card details have been swiped by the hackers. Equally, there’s no assurance that card details weren’t taken, and when Sony will be able to state anything concrete about the card situation is anyone’s guess.

Stringer also highlighted the “welcome back” freebies which customers will get as compensation for the fortnight-plus outage, and pointed to the details of a free identity theft program for US PSN and Qriocity customers that Sony is introducing.

The company has brought Debix, an ID protection outfit, on board to implement the AllClear ID Plus scheme at no charge to customers – for twelve months.

AllClear ID Plus offers monitoring to detect when a customer’s details are spilled on to the net, and liaison with licensed private investigators who can conduct inquiries thereafter, along with identity restoration specialists to contact creditors and take steps to restore a person’s good standing and identity.

It also includes $1 million worth of identity theft insurance to cover identity restoration costs, any legal expenses and lost wages that occur the following year after someone’s identity has been pinched.

While this is just the US at the moment, similar schemes will be coming to other territories in time “where applicable”. Presumably SCEE will definitely be applicable, particularly seeing as the SOE spillage definitely included European bank account and card details (albeit outdated ones).

Obviously this is a measure intended to make people feel safer entering (or keeping) their details with Sony, and it’s another welcome freebie. Of course, the protection only lasts for a year – presumably Sony hopes that its network will prove itself to be rock solid in that time, and this whole matter will have blown over.

Stringer also addressed the criticism levelled at Sony for the speed at which it moved to notify customers of the exact nature of the incident after shutting down PSN.

He wrote: “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.”

Stringer concluded his blog missive: “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.”

In “the coming days” seeming to indicate again that while PSN is now undergoing final internal testing, it might not be live until early next week.

Sony had previously promised that core services would be back this week. That could still happen, of course, but the way the company is talking makes it sound unlikely.

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  1. They should not give deadlines and then fail to meet them. It wouldn’t be so bad had I not purchased a game two weeks ago. I’ve been waiting patiently to play online but now they’re just taking the piss. It wouldn’t suprise me if service wasn’t resumed until late next week.

    So no online for over 16 days, no ETA and not to mention somebody (could) have my personal details across the world. It doesn’t matter how many apologies they proceed to give in each blog/letter they post or how many ‘freebies’ if you can even call it that, they offer. Sony is a joke.

    Comment by Allen — May 6, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  2. And what about the millions of non-Americans who’ve had to suffer for your incompetence? Do we not count?

    Comment by JKUK — May 6, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  3. soo after the year is done with the soo call freebie…how much is this protection scheme gona cost? is it annualy or a one time fee?

    Comment by sirbeast — May 6, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

  4. this is why i hate hackers…..good for nothing…they think thy are doing us a favour but they are just ruining pplz lives….why dont they try to hack the u.s. government and see what will happen they only prey on weak servers…

    Comment by sirbeast — May 6, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

  5. I think if you want to continue you’ll have to pay an annual subscription thereafter.. but of course you won’t need to because by then Sony will have bullet-proofed its network - or that’s the idea I think ;-)

    Comment by Darren Allan — May 6, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

  6. I was so happy the first time i played on my new PS3 after smashing my XBOX 360, now i wish i still had it.

    Sort your shit out Sony!

    Comment by Dave Davington — May 6, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

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