Sony announces PS Network service restoration, new security measures, “Welcome Back” reward program

Sony has announced that they will begin a region-based phased restoration shortly of PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. The process will begin with the return of gaming, music, and video services. Network security is also going to be improved, and a new customer appreciation program was also announced so that Sony can “thank its customers for their patience and loyalty.”

The services set to initially return include the restoration of online play for the PS3 and PSP, including titles that require online verification and download titles; access to Music Unlimited for PS3 and PSP for existing subscribers; access to un-expired Movie Rentals on PS3, PSP, and MediaGo; PlayStation Home; Friends List; Chat Functionality; and access to account management and password reset.

The new security measures include the creation of the position of Chief Information Security Officer, directly reporting to Shinji Hasejima, Chief Information Officer of Sony Corporation, “to add a new position of expertise in and accountability for customer data protection and supplement existing information security personnel.” Implemented measures include additional firewalls; enhanced levels of data protection and encryption; automated software monitoring and configuration management; and enhanced ability to detect network intrusions, unauthorized access, and unusual activity patterns. Additional measures include plans to accelerate a move of the system to a new data center in a new location; a forced PS3 system update that will require all PS Network users to change their passwords before signing in; and a restriction so that passwords can only be changed on the same PS3 which the account has activated or through validated email confirmation.

The company notes that it is “conducting a thorough and on-going investigation and working with law enforcement to track down and prosecute those responsible for the illegal intrusion.”

An interesting offer will also be available in the near future where the company will assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services at local levels

A “Welcome Back” program will also be rolled out shortly, which will offer users worldwide a selection of region-specific service options and premium content “as an expression of the company’s appreciation for their patience, support and continued loyalty.” It was announced that each territory will be offered select content for free download, a free 30-day membership to PlayStation Plus (current members receive 30 days free as well), and a 30 days of free service to Music Unlimited. Additional extras will be announced as services return online.

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