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OpEd: The Sony PSN Security Breach - Why I'm Angry

The PSN Outage just got even more serious as, according to Kotaku, the FBI is now involved with looking into the security breach along with almost two dozen state attorneys general and possibly even the Federal Trade Commisson.

According to Darrell Foxworth, a spokesperson from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, "The FBI is aware of the reports concerning the alleged intrusion into the Sony on line game server and we have been in contact with Sony concerning this matter. We are presently reviewing the available information in an effort to determine the facts and circumstances concerning this alleged criminal activity."

The PlayStation Network has been down for over a week now due to an "unauthorized person" who accessed PSN customer personal data including their names, addresses, passwords, logins and possibly even credit card data.

Anyone with information concerning the breach is asked to contact the FBI at 858-565-1255 or 1-877-EZ-2-TELL. Cyber tips may be e-mailed to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Source: Kotaku

The intrusion on the PlayStation Network is a nightmare for all concerned -- Sony, gamers, developers, lawyers -- and the Internet has responded with expected anger, but also with funny tweets, funny memes, mash-ups, comics and YouTube videos. I've collected some of my favorite PSN-related internet humor below. (I've credited them as well as I could, given the nature of the internet.)

Reaction from the gaming community was swift, especially the below guy, DiscoSean21, who was very, very angry over the matter on YouTube:

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SOE Offering

In the wake of Sony's PlayStation Network outage, Sony Online Entertainment is already gifting affected gamers some rewards, and they have more plans in the works. From a statement we received yesterday:

"We apologize for any inconvenience players may have experienced as a result of the recent service interruption. As a global leader in online gaming, SOE is committed to delivering stable and entertaining games for players of all ages. To thank players for their patience, we will be hosting special events this weekend across our game portfolio, including a Double Station Cash day on Saturday, April 30th. We are also working on a “make good” plan for players of the PS3 versions of DC Universe Online and Free Realms. Details will be available soon on the individual game websites and forums."

Double Station Cash days allow you to redeem purchased Station Cash credits for double their face value, which you can use in games like Free Realms, Everquest, and Everquest II. It's nice to know that they plan to make good for the PS3 users affected by this outage as well. It will probably be awhile until we find out what that plan is, but it's a nice gesture on SOE's behalf.

Unlike PSN, Twitter is still up. Thank Odin! If Twitter were to go down, there would be no way to know how people really felt about PSN taking a dump.

Now, Sony's black screen of death might not be as cute as the Fail Whale (No reports of tattoos...yet), but without the giant interactive anger vent that is Twitter, the world's pent-up collective rage might boil the sea. It would kill all the fish, and then where would we be? I guess we'd have a lot of very hot fish soup, which is a glass half-empty/glass half-full situation depending on your stance on cioppino.

Anyway, we've combed Twitter for the best Tweets about the PSN outage. Enjoy!

From DeathStarPR:

Thank Odin For Twitter! Otherwise, We Wouldn't Know You Were Mad About The PSN Outage

I hear Mexico is beautiful this time of year! A donkey show and churros anyone? My treat.

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PlayStation Network PSN

As we pass more than a week without a PlayStation Network, we're taking a look at how the outage is likely to affect the bottom line of Sony. The short answer: It's going to be bad. According to some estimates, Sony could hemorrhage from $1.5 to $24 billion before the dust settles. A lot of the ultimate cost seems to depend on whether the PSN hacker/hackers have gotten away with credit card information and can unencrypt it.

One of the early indicators of the effect the fiasco will have on Sony is the company's stock price. The price of Sony's stock has fallen eight percent this week, tanking nearly five percent yesterday alone. This was on a day when the average stock rose 1.6 percent. Bad news. Although it's mitigated a bit by the fact that Sony's stock was already in the proverbial crapper due to natural disaster.

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PlayStation Network PSN

Sony released another batch of answers to some of the questions PSN users have been asking. They addressed the matter of law enforcement, data encryption, and what Sony plans to do to protect your data in the future.

Q: Is Sony working with law enforcement?

A: Yes, they are working with both law enforcement and a recognized technology security firm to conduct an investigation. "This malicious attack against our system and against our customers is a criminal act and we are proceeding aggressively to find those responsible."

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Hulu Offering Free Credit For PS3 Subscribers

Hulu, the online media service that allows customers to watch television shows and movies over the internet, and through their PlayStation 3 console, is offering their Hulu Plus subscribers a free week of credit due to the PSN Outage. If you're unaware of the situation, an unauthorized person has accessed PlayStation Network users' personal information including name, address, password, login and possibly credit card data which has caused the service to shut down for over a week now.

In an e-mail sent by Hulu to their customers, the company said, "We understand this is frustrating, and we are looking forward to Sony restoring access to the application as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’d like to offer you a 1-week credit toward your Hulu Plus subscription." For Hulu's full statement that they've emailed to their customers, check after the break.

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OpEd: The Sony PSN Security Breach - Why I'm Angry

This OpEd was prompted by the Sony PSN outage and security breach. As a longtime Sony fan, the fact that our private information was accessed illegally, despite threats and public knowledge about unencrypted credit card data, has pushed me over the edge. That, and the fact that Jake Gaskill and I cannot continue our awesome Portal 2 co-opping.

By now you've heard about Sony's PlayStation Network security breach, and at this point it's gone well beyond hackers bringing the system down and turned into a large theft of personal information. Physical addresses, passwords, security answers, email addresses, purchase histories and credit card information has potentially been stolen for over 70 million users worldwide. Needless to say, that's a gargantuan amount of private data worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the right buyers, and a ripe target for identity theft and unauthorized credit card charges. It's a headache for users and banks alike, not to mention Sony itself.

But Sony was warned about this, and we knew months ago that it was possible.

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PlayStation Network PSN

With the PlayStation Network taking a big, fat dive this week, it's easy to see the tangible destruction: no access to the store, no online play, and, worst of all, users' personal information making it into the hands of an "unauthorized person." Sony users will be feeling the ramifications of this failure for weeks and -- if anyone becomes the victim of identity fraud because of the leak-- months to come.

However, there is another, less-visible group of people being affected by the downtime. Developers must be feeling hurt, especially because several big games (Mortal Kombat, Portal 2 and SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs) with multiplayer components were released last week, and a few PSN games were delayed because of the outage.

I won't say that the games that came out last week got screwed, but I'll type it. Read on to find out more.

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PlayStation Network PSN

The entire tech-aware world is obviously focused on the PSN fiasco, with consumers asking that age-old scandal double-question: What did Sony know and when did they know it? But I’ve got different queries: When the PlayStation Network is finally repaired and functional, how will we access our online identities? What kind of hoops will consumers have to jump through to safely and securely reclaim their PSN accounts? Will we still have our trophies, friends list, DLC and the rest of our online, PSN identity?

Had Sony taken the network down for “regular” maintenance, they could just put things up as they were when the system went down, but the compromising of users’ personal information puts Sony into a very different, and very delicate, situation, that likely doesn't have a simple solution. Sony, as yet, aren't saying how they plan to reunite gamers with their online profiles, but below are some ideas on how it might work.

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It isn’t often that the games industry is rocked by two massive news stories in a week, but that’s precisely what went down over the past few days, and, boy, has it been a whirlwind. Not only are millions and millions of PlayStation 3 owners scrambling to ensure their identities aren’t stolen in the wake of last week’s attack on the PlayStation Network, but gamers everywhere are speculating furiously about what Nintendo’s newly confirmed Wii successor might be now that we know it’s going to be playable at E3 2011. Oh, and there just happens to be a little thing called the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta that a whole mess o’ folks are playing at the moment, so that’s on the discussion agenda as well.

It’s a full show, and to guide you through it all is your host Adam Sessler and our illustrious panel: Stephen Johnson, Michael Leffler, and Nikole Zivalich. Enjoy!

Feedback -- PSN Hacked & Gears Of War 3 Beta Impressions »


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The PSN Security Breach: Why We're Angry

The Rothken law firm has filed a federal class action lawsuit against Sony on behalf of "approximately 77 million" PlayStation Network users who are unable to access the PSN.

Calling the security breach the "largest compromise of Internet security and the greatest potential for credit card fraud to ever occur in United States history," the suit accuses Sony of "breach of warranty, negligent data security, violations of consumers’ rights of privacy, failure to protect those rights, and failure and on-going refusal to timely inform consumers of unauthorized third party access to their credit card account and other nonpublic and private financial information."

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PlayStation Network PSN

We've been covering the PlayStation Network security breach since it first started a week ago, but since then there has been so much news surrounding the outage that we decided to put together a convenient wrap-up guide so that all of our information is easily accessible. Here's what we've covered around the PSN Outage so far:

Statements From Sony:

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PSN Accounts Hacked: How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Sony has issued a lengthy list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) surrounding the unfortunate PlayStation Network issues they've been dealing with for the past week. While several of the answers are "no comment", they do let users in on why it's taking so long to fix the issues and hint at a reimbursement for the trouble this has caused their customers. We've also created our own FAQ regarding what we know about the PSN outage to answer questions like when the service went down and what you should do next to protect your credit information. After the break you'll find the answers we haven't already outlined for you, but to see the full FAQ you can head over to Sony's website.

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Late yesterday, Sony revealed some details on the difference in timing between the company learning that the PlayStation Network had been compromised and it informing consumers. A post on Sony's blog from Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media Patrick Seybold reads: "There’s a difference in timing between when we identified there was an intrusion and when we learned of consumers’ data being compromised."

According to the post, Sony learned there was an intrusion on April 19th, then shut the services down. Sony said, "We then brought in outside experts to help us learn how the intrusion occurred and to conduct an investigation to determine the nature and scope of the incident" because "it was necessary to conduct several days of forensic analysis, and it took our experts until yesterday to understand the scope of the breach."

So what do you think? Should Sony have revealed this information sooner, or did the company follow proper, sensible protocol?

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