A Real Nightmare: PSN Hacked

Wednesday, April 20, 2011, I’ll never forget it. I happily turned on my PS3 and tried to sign in, soon after, this message that will forever haunt some of us appeared before my eyes:

“An error has occurred. You have been signed out of the Playstation Network. (80710A06)”

Later that day, the rumour that the Playstation Network has been hacked flooded the internet, mostly linking the incident to the hacker group “Anonymous” who actually threatened to hack Sony before. The official Playstation Blog later posted that day:

Playstation Blog:

We’re aware certain functions of PlayStation Network are down. We will report back here as soon as we can with more information. Thank you for your patience.

April 21:

While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running. Thank you very much for your patience while we work to resolve this matter. Please stay tuned to this space for more details, and we’ll update you again as soon as we can.


Oh no!

On April 22, Sony finally confirmed that there was an “external intrusion” that affected PSN:

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.

Hacker Group “Anonymous” denies involvement on the incident the same day which you can fully read HERE.

We had nothing to do with this!

The following week, The Playstation Blog Posted a bunch of Q and A’s to help PSN users understand and answer question about the security of their personal information and such which you can find in the following links:

Q&A #1 for PlayStation Network and Qriocity Services

Q&A #2 for PlayStation Network and Qriocity Services

April 30:

Sony announced the “Welcome Back” program that will offer PSN users with 1 month free Playstation Plus membership:


The company announced its “Welcome Back” program worldwide, giving all existing PlayStation Network users 30 days of PlayStation Plus for free. Current PlayStation Plus members will receive 30 days of additional service at no cost. Sony will also provide “selected PlayStation entertainment content” for free to download. Details for each region will be announced at a later date. Additionally, Music Unlimited subscribers (in countries where the service is available) will receive 30 days free service.

You can read the article from IGN in full detail HERE.

May 5:

A letter from Howard Stinger, which was posted on the Playstation Blog, states that the PSN is in its final stages of restoration and will be back in the coming days.

Howard Stinger:

Dear Friends,

I know this has been a frustrating time for all of you.

Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we’ve all experienced and on fixing it. We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less.

To date, there is no confirmed evidence any credit card or personal information has been misused, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We are also moving ahead with plans to help protect our customers from identity theft around the world. A program for U.S. PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers that includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user was launched earlier today and announcements for other regions will be coming soon.

As we have announced, we will be offering a “Welcome Back” package to our customers once our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are up and running. This will include, among other benefits, a month of free PlayStation Plus membership for all PSN customers, as well as an extension of subscriptions for PlayStation Plus and Music Unlimited customers to make up for time lost.

As a company we — and I — apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused by this attack. Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, we have teams working around the clock and around the world to restore your access to those services as quickly, and as safely, as possible.

I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.

As a result of what we discovered we notified you of the breach. Our investigation is ongoing, and we are upgrading our security so that if attacks like this happen again, our defenses will be even stronger.

In the last few months, Sony has faced a terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But now we are facing a very man-made event – a criminal attack on us — and on you — and we are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world to apprehend those responsible.

In the coming days, we will restore service to the networks and welcome you back to the fun. I wanted to personally reach out and let you know that we are committed to serving you to the very best of our ability, protecting your information better than ever, and getting you back to what you signed up for – all the games and great entertainment experiences that you expect from Sony.

With best regards,
Howard Stringer

For further details on the whole story you can view visit the official Playstation Blog.  Additionally, IGN has provided a link that compiles everything that has transpired since the April 20th outage which you can view HERE.

So how do my fellow gamer feel about this? Will the “welcome back” program keep faithful PS3 users to actually come back? Can we still trust Sony? And the biggest question of all: When will the Playstation Network be actually restored?

Shout out your feelings about this outage on our comments.


Sources: The Official Playstation Blog, IGN

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