Off to a Wobbly Start: Sony's PlayStation Network Lurches to Life

The good news is, Sony shares are up off reports the PlayStation Network, Sony Online Entertainment, and media-streaming service Qriocity returned from the hereafter this weekend. The bad news is, it’s one of those part-zombie resurrections: the PlayStation Network’s only partly working, and even then, only for some.

Blame droves of eager PSN members, who reacted to the news like any sensible gamer would, by full-on bum-rushing the network. That didn’t go over well with Sony central, which buckled, then temporarily blacked out. The company revealed last night that it was "experiencing [sic] a heavy load of password resets" and had to "[turn] off the services for 30 minutes to clear the queue.” (Sony reiterated this on its PlayStation blog.)

“If you've requested your password reset, it's taking time to clear all of the ISPs, so please give it a bit of time to reach your email," added Sony in a followup tweet.

Sony began restoring service on a phased country-by-country basis Saturday, May 14, starting with "the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Middle East." The "first phase" list of services back included online gameplay, PSN video rental playback, friends lists along with related features, and access to media services Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and MLB.tv.

Wonderful, but what've they done to make us safer?

Sony claims it's added "considerable enhancements to the data security, including updating and adding advanced security technologies, additional software monitoring and penetration and vulnerability testing, and increased levels of encryption and additional firewalls."

Sony says it's also added "a variety of other measures to the network infrastructure including an early-warning system for unusual activity patterns that could signal an attempt to compromise the network."

In a press statement, Sony executive deputy president Kazuo Hirai apologized for the second time to Sony customers, explaining the lengthy delay was because "we did not rush to do so at the expense of extensively and aggressively testing our enhanced security measures." The company also dropped in a quote from Symantec's senior vice president Francis deSouza, who took aim at cyber-crime, citing "a dramatic rise in the volume of cyber attacks, their sophistication and their impact on businesses."

"Today’s cyber crime attacks are proving to be more covert, more targeted and better organized than those we’ve seen in years past," said deSouza. "In working with Sony on the move of their data-center, it’s clear they’re implementing measures to reduce security risks moving forward."

Make what you will of the company Sony paid to help fortify the PSN (as opposed to an independent security auditor) claiming all's well with the world.

Will it be enough? Place your bets—the new security measures could in fact act as a hacker goad—but we can hope.

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