Sony Officially Confirms Cause of PSN Outage, Restoration Estimated “Within a Week”


As many PS3 and PSP owners have noticed, the PlayStation Network has been down since mid to late last week. The Internet has since exploded with rumors and speculation over the cause, but I don’t post about rumor and speculation here, so I haven’t personally written about the downtime.

Today, though, Sony has done the proper thing by disclosing official details regarding the outage, including the cause and a general timetable for recovery. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound too good.

According to Sony, between the dates of April 17 April 19 an “illegal intrusion” attacked the system and compromised “certain” PSN and Qriocity user account information. More specifically, that “certain” account information has been narrowed down to include name, address, country, email address, birthdate, password and login information, and possibly purchase history and billing address. Sony says that there is no evidence yet that credit card information has been stolen, but “cannot rule out the possibility,” and is thus urging users to be cautious of phishing scams, to change log-in information as soon as PSN is restored, and to monitor account statements and credit reports for any signs of identity theft.

This attack has caused Sony to take PSN completely offline and rebuild the system, and as such it looks like it’s going to take some time for a full recovery. As of now, Sony estimates that “some” services will be restored within a week.

As a reviewer and gamer whose workhorse system is the PS3, I hope it’s back online sooner rather than later, as I’ve got games like Mortal Kombat, Portal 2, MotorStorm Apocalypse, various PSN games and soon SOCOM 4 that I can’t take online. But first and foremost, I want Sony to ensure a full system recovery before PSN goes live again. As inconvenient as it may be, I can live without PSN as long as it takes to guarantee my personal information is safe and secure moving forward.

As sue-happy as the U.S. is right now, I can already see lawsuits coming. But please, people, stop with the entitlement attitude that Sony owes you money or free games for the downtime. It sucks that personal info was compromised, and Sony still has a lot to answer for in terms of security practices and so on. But in a situation like this Sony is not the enemy, the hackers are. No security is impenetrable, and shit happens.

All registered account holders will be receiving the following message via email:

Valued PlayStation Network/Qriocity Customer:
We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network. In response to this intrusion, we have:

Temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services;
Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened; and
Quickly taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure by re-building our system to provide you with greater protection of your personal information.

We greatly appreciate your patience, understanding and goodwill as we do whatever it takes to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as practicable.

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.

To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports. We are providing the following information for those who wish to consider it:

U.S. residents are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order your free credit report, visit or call toll-free (877) 322-8228.

We have also provided names and contact information for the three major U.S. credit bureaus below. At no charge, U.S. residents can have these credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on your file that alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity prior to granting credit in your name. This service can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name. Note, however, that because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you, it also may delay your ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies your identity. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on your file. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, or should you have any questions regarding your credit report, please contact any one of the agencies listed below.

Experian: 888-397-3742;; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Equifax: 800-525-6285;; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
TransUnion: 800-680-7289;; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

You may wish to visit the web site of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at or reach the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580 for further information about how to protect yourself from identity theft. Your state Attorney General may also have advice on preventing identity theft, and you should report instances of known or suspected identity theft to law enforcement, your State Attorney General, and the FTC. For North Carolina residents, the Attorney General can be contacted at 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-9001; telephone (877) 566-7226; or For Maryland residents, the Attorney General can be contacted at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202; telephone: (888) 743-0023; or

We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience. Our teams are working around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible. Sony takes information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that additional measures are taken to protect personally identifiable information. Providing quality and secure entertainment services to our customers is our utmost priority. Please contact us at 1-800-345-7669 should you have any additional questions.

Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment

Update on PlayStation Network and Qriocity [PlayStation.Blog]

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Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!