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Sony begins PlayStation Network restoration

Company says global restoration should be complete by end of May 2011

Sony begins PlayStation Network restoration
Sony has begun restoration of PlayStation, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment services across the Americas.

Sony PlayStation has begun turning on PlayStation Network, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment services in the Americas and Europe and will slowly be turning the network on in other countries, starting in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Sony says that it hopes to have all services restored by the end of May 2011.

The new PS3 software update is also available and ready to download.

"Thank you for your patience and encouragement over the last few weeks. As covered in the post from earlier today, you can now update the firmware on your PS3 and change your password. Kazuo Hirai just announced that we have begun the phased restoration by region of some of the services, starting with online multiplayer functionality," said a post by Patrick Seybold, senior director, Corporate Communications and Social Media on 14th May.

The first phase of the restoration of services for North America and Europe will include sign-in for PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, including the resetting of passwords, the restoration of online gameplay across PlayStation 3 and PSP, playback rental video content if within rental period of PlayStation Store Video Store on PS3, PSP and Media Go, the restoration of Q Music Unlimited, for current subscribers, on PS3 and PC,  access to third party services such as VidZone and MUBI, restoration of the 'Friends' category on PS3, including Friends List, Chat Functionality, Trophy Comparison and the restoration of PlayStation Home.

Sony has warned that the restoration of services on a global scale may take some time and said on Saturday that it would take hours to restore the PlayStation Network across the US.

The company has been working with outside contractors to ensure Sony PlayStation Network, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment are far more secure then before the hack that saw millions if users data stolen.

"Working closely with several respected outside security firms, the company has implemented new and additional security measures that strengthen safeguards against unauthorised activity, and provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information. The company has made 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," said Sony in a press release.

One of these security measures includes a software update for the PS3, which is now compulsory and all PS3 users must download the software to be able to continue to use PlayStation services. The new update requires users to change their passwords once the Network is restored.

"If using a PS3, your password can only be changed on your own PS3 (or a PS3 on which your PSN account was activated), as an added layer of security. If you have never downloaded any content using your account on the system, an email will be sent to the registered sign-in ID (email address) associated with your account when you first attempt to sign-in to PSN. This e-mail will contain a link that will enable you to change your password," read the latest blog post.

PlayStation has strongly recommended that all PS3 users download the updates now to prepare for when the Network is back online. Sony says this update is designed to help make the PlayStation Network much more secure.

"During the past 18 months, we've seen a dramatic rise in the volume of cyber attacks, their sophistication and their impact on businesses. Thwarting cyber-crime requires an evolutionary approach to security that is well integrated, reduces risk exposure and improves efficiencies," said Francis deSouza, senior vice president, Enterprise Security Group, Symantec. "Today's cyber crime attacks are proving to be more covert, more targeted and better organised than those we've seen in years past. In working with Sony on the move of their data centre, it's clear they're implementing measures to reduce security risks moving forward." 

According to Sony, the company has also added a variety of other security measures to ensure the safety of users' data.

"I can't thank you enough for your patience and support during this time. We know even the most loyal customers have been frustrated by this process and are anxious to use their Sony products and services again. We are taking aggressive action at all levels to address the concerns that were raised by this incident, and are making consumer data protection a full time, company-wide commitment," said Kazuo Hirai, Executive deputy president, Sony Corporation.

Fumiaki Sakai, president of Sony Global Solutions Inc (SGS), has now been appointed as the acting Chief Information Security Officer of Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI). Sakai, in his role at SNEI, will work to reinforce information security across the company's network infrastructure and lead a recruitment drive to find a new, permanent CISO for SNEI.

"While we understand the importance of getting our services back online, we did not rush to do so at the expense of extensively and aggressively testing our enhanced security measures. Our consumers' safety remains our number one priority," Hirai said. "We want to assure our customers that their personal information is being protected with some of the best security technologies available today, so that everyone can feel comfortable enjoying all that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have to offer." 

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