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Sunday, May 01, 2011
Sony To Enable Some Playstation Network And Qriocity Services This Week, Announces Free Content Offerings

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) will shortly begin a phased restoration by region of PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, enhanced the security across the network and announced "Welcome Back" offerings for users.

Following a criminal cyber-attack on the company's data-center located in San Diego, California, U.S.A., Sony quickly turned off the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, engaged expert information security firms over the course of several days and conducted an audit of the system. Since then, the company has implemented a variety of new security measures to provide better protection of personal information. With these measures in place, Sony said that it plans to start a phased rollout by region of the services shortly. The initial phase of the rollout will include, but is not limited to, the following:

- Restoration of Online game-play across the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PSP systems - This includes titles requiring online verification and downloaded games
- Access to Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity for PS3/PSP for existing subscribers
- Access to account management and password reset
- Access to download un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo
- PlayStation Home
- Friends List
- Chat Functionality

Sony said that it has implemented significant security measures to further detect unauthorized activity and provide consumers with better 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 supplement existing information security personnel. The new security measures implemented include 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 center 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.

Sony is conducting a thorough and on-going 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. 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," said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. "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 program 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."

Sony says that while there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, it will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level, Sony added.

The company will also rollout the PlayStation Network and Qriocity "Welcome Back" program, to be offered worldwide, which will be tailored to specific markets to provide users with a selection of service options and premium content.

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

- Each territory will be offering selected PlayStation entertainment content for free download.
- 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.
- Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity 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, Sony added.

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