PSN Almost Back as Threat of Fresh Hacker Onslaught Looms

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Two weeks and two days in, the PlayStation Network remains down, and it's still anyone's guess when it'll be back--could be today, could be a week from today. A new post on Sony's official Playstation blog suggests sooner, stating the company's "global network and security teams" have moved into "final stages" testing.

There's also a nasty rumor circulating that Sony could face attack number three this weekend (more on that in a moment). I'm not sure what's more vexing--that Sony Online Entertainment, the PSN, and Qriocity services remain down, or that a bunch of philosophically sophomoric reprobates keep popping up threatening to do greater harm.

Sony says it plans to offer its users 12 months free enrollment in a protection program for identity theft run by Debix, Inc. (I'd never heard of them, but Sony calls them "one of the industry’s most reputable identity protection firms.") Look for activation emails in the coming days, and you'll have until June 18th to redeem your code. According to Sony, Debix's 'AllClear ID Plus' scrutinizes your personal info for evidence of identity theft, gives you "priority access" to Debix's support staff, and insures you for up to $1 million to cover costs involved in identity restoration, legal bills, and lost wages.

Sony Corporation president and CEO Howard Stringer--heavily criticized for keeping mum until now--dispatched his first missive on the PlayStation blog last night. His note basically reiterates all the others, offering assurances about credit card and personal data and summing up the steps taken to date. If you wanted a personal apology, he offers one, before calling the hack "a criminal attack on us — and on you." I'm not sure apologies matter at this point, if they ever did--actions are all that count when it comes to corporate-customer relationships. After all, it's not like any of us have meaningful "personal relationships" with companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony.

And just as the corporate relaunch rhetoric's shifted to "almost ready," there's word new hacker attacks may be imminent. CNET claims someone tapped into an underground Internet Relay Chat channel and noticed hacker rumbling about a "third major attack" against Sony's web site (presumably they mean this weekend. Here's the disturbing part: according to CNET's source, the hackers already have access to Sony's servers.

Skeptic's caps at the ready--it could be the real thing, in which case we hope Sony's ready and on its toes, or it could be the watcher that cried wolf, thus triggering another rash of frenzied, inaccurate headlines.

And to those of you who think Sony didn't act fast enough getting info about the attack to the public, consider the bin Laden info-fiasco that's currently embroiled the White House: rush inaccurate information out to sate the public appetite, and you have twice the mess to cleanup.

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