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Sony downtime continues, company shooting for full return by May 31

PlayStation Network logoAs Sony finishes a third weekend with no restored service for Qriocity users, it is clear that last week’s promises of a limited reactivation were in vain. The two online networks were taken down on April 20 after an “external intrusion” was discovered that resulted in the theft of personal data for more than 77 million users, along with an additional 24 million-plus Sony Online Entertainment customers, which was later discovered to be targeted as well. You can be sure that the services won’t be brought back online until Sony is certain that the user data is safe; the plan now is to have everything up and running again by May 31.

The deadline was revealed in a brief update from Sony spokesperson Shigenori Yoshida to Bloomberg. That’s all Yoshida had to say, no surprise given that it really comes down at this point to waiting for Sony techs to finish implementing an improved security system for the company’s online services. Last week’s plan for a partial restoration, including access to online gameplay and unexpired movie rentals, was apparently too ambitious given the extent of the intrusion. Assuming all comes back online on May 31, that will be six weeks of no service for PSN and Qriocity customers.

The company also continues to come up with plans to restore customer faith in the wake of the incident. Last week, Sony announced a “Welcome Back” incentive program alongside its aborted partial service restoration plans as well as a partnership with identity protection firm Debix that will give all affected users one full year of coverage. A post on the EU PlayStation Blog reveals that users will be given the option of receiving two free PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Portable games (from a set list) as a thank you for being patient. This offer has only been announced for Europe so far.

Sony now finds itself in an impossible situation. A breach of this magnitude is unprecedented and the company is navigating uncharted waters as it attempts to assuage customer dissatisfaction while taking the necessary time to ensure that such an attack won’t happen again.

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