In a post late Friday to the PlayStation blog, Sony senior director, corporate communications and social media, Patrick Seybold issued the following update concerning the ongoing PlayStation Network outage:
An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network & Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th. Providing quality entertainment services to our customers and partners is our utmost priority. We are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we once again thank you for your patience. We will continue to update you promptly as we have additional information to share.
Though it provides little information on when PS3 owners might see online services restored, the language hints at the potential severity of the situation. Both the PlayStation Network and Qriocity have been compromised to such a degree that Sony felt it had no alternative but to pull the plug. With both systems containing significant amounts of customer personal and credit card data, the implication that at some point that information may not have been secure gives some cause for concern.
As we reported, in an earlier response to the situation, Seybold wrote that the system could be down for 'a day or two' while the company investigated the situation and effected repairs. While not untruthful, that statement came after the April 20 time given today as the time when Sony turned off the systems. Given the sensitivity of the situation it's understandable that Sony would want to be careful in what information it released; however, should customer data be involved, the company will need to act quickly to share the nature of the exposure with those affected.
When PSN first went down many presumed the hacker group Anonymous might be resuming its denial of service attack. For its part, though, Anonymous claims it has nothing to do with this round of trouble. A post on the group's blog states, "While it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves, AnonOps was not related to this incident and does not take responsibility for whatever has happened."
Regardless the source, the customer service challenge for Sony continues to mount as players eager to play Portal 2, SOCOM 4, or any of their other PS3 games online become frustrated. Many of them around the Net have started to suggest compensation is now in order in the form of a free game or access to the Plus features of the PlayStation Network.
Shacknews will continue to watch the situation and update you with any new information when it becomes available.