No Sony PSN service anytime soon, says latest update

Sony’s posts another update saying it won’t be able to restore PSN within the week it had hoped

Sony is reneging on a promise to reboot its PlayStation Network and start bringing its 77 million customers back online anytime soon. Sony posted an update to its PlayStation blog Friday stating it was "unaware of the extent of the (network) attack" adding it needs to "conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system" before it can restart its network.

This latest statement contradicts a comment made just the previous day by Sony CEO and Chairman Howard Stringer who said "in the coming days, we will restore service to the networks." Sony had also teased eager PSN gamers dropping hints that the PSN service would soon be restored, stating it had begun "the final stages of internal testing of the new system."

The delay may have something to do with fresh threats of a weekend network attack made earlier this week. Word of an impending attack came from CNET. According the report Sony faced another round of attacks this weekend in retaliation for what many consider its poor handling of the initial PSN attack. Chief among the hacker's beef with Sony, it's assumed, is the company's failure to inform Qriocity users in a timely manner that their financial information had been stolen by hackers until ten days after the breach.

User Outrage Over Chronic Delays

Friday's announcement is sure to rile gamers who have expressed a mix of emotions about the attack that range from anger to outrage.

Feedback from subscribers regarding the latest revelation is overwhelmingly negative and there's clearly a feeling of desperation. "Imagine my complete and utter shock," writes a user with the handle yazter, in a sarcastic response to the latest update. Elsewhere user cqc555 points out that, while Sony talks of its network being an "incredibly complex system", it clearly is "not too complex for hackers to breech".

The new update also hints that the attack against the SOE servers is more severe than Sony initially suggested, when it claimed an "outdated database from 2007" was accessed. The hold-up might also be related to rumors that yet another hack attack has been perpetrated, possibly against the main Sony.com website.

The PSN and SOE hacks amount to perhaps the biggest data breach in history, with over 100 million user accounts being accessed, and Sony has been hauled before the House of Representatives to answer questions. If nothing else, the attack proves the old hacker adage that the larger they are, the harder they fall.

Suggestions from Sony that online activist group Anonymous is involved were again quashed by the organization on Thursday via its AnonOps blog. Anonymous points out that it has never had an interest in stealing credit card details and even go so far as to suggest it has been framed by "a group of standard online thieves". However, two individuals claiming to be veteran Anonymous members told the Financial Times that members of the group may well have been behind the attacks.

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Keir Thomas

PC World (US online)
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