So I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Sony PlayStation Network (hereafter referred to as the PSN) has been down for an entire week or so. What most people thought was an outage caused by “hackers”, was actually something much more sinister. It turns out that the entire PSN was hacked. The worst part about this, is the possibility that all of the 77 million account holders could have had personal data about themselves stolen which includes names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and my favourite parts; passwords and credit card details.
Now that’s obviously an awful thing to happen, and if the rumours are correct, some of our own very important data was actually unencrypted and stored as plain text. Yep, there will probably be a lot more ‘bold’, just to outline the absolutely outrageous. One the scale of one to fuck up, we’re scoring pretty high. The worst part in all of this? Apparently Sony has known that confidential data might have been stolen, since Monday. Two days ago.
That’s two days people should have had to sort their lives out, but for some unknown reason, the news was only broken today. This news has made headline stories, and while Sony offered a blog post on their official blog, I was busy reading about it in newspapers, and on video games websites. It wasn’t until 4pm BST that I received an email from Sony offering advice on what to do next. This is easily one of the largest cases of (possible) internet fraud and identity theft in the ‘internet generation’, and it really doesn’t help that it has become one of the largest PR gaffs on Sony’s behalf.
The question is this; Where does Sony go from here? The first thing is to make sure the network is safe. The second will be to make all their previous customers feel safe enough to use their network. That’s going to take a long time. Most will cry for compensation of the down-time, and that will probably come in the way of a free ‘game’, reimbursement for subscription time lost, or something quite similar. As a quite sane individual I haven’t been scared to death by the problems of today. I’ve actually been quite calm, if a little annoyed, but I have had to change a lot of passwords, and will have to wait until the PSN is up to see if I need to cancel a debit card. Other members of the public won’t have been so lucky. The PSN can work with multiple accounts, multiple cards and multiple email addresses. Some members of the public may only have one password for all of their online usage, and unfortunately for them that has to be changed. The rebuilding of trust in the Sony brand is going to take a long time, and in the video games business, a long time is already too much.
I imagine that the money lost through this blunder (be it through reimbursement or cost of extra security), and the money Sony themselves are going to have to spend to increase consumer confidence is going to be enormous. Expect another advertising campaign soon, just to let everyone know that the PSN, and life in general, is back to normal. Unfortunately for now, the negative PR is still flowing. I’m not exactly adding to the fire, but I’m hardly helping. As a fan of the PlayStation brand, I hope that everything gets fixed up shortly, and they’re able to prove to me the PSN is safe. When that time comes, I’ll happily purchase content from them again, but until that point I’ll stay apprehensive and steer clear. After all;