The PlayStation Notwork


By: Alan Bell
Published: Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 12:11 PM
 

By now, most PlayStation owners (be they PSP or PS3 players) will be well aware that the PlayStation Network (including online gaming, friends and the PlayStation Store) are offline. The observant will know that this happened at some point on Thursday last week, making the (now five-plus day) outage the most significant in living memory for any online gaming network.

So what's it all about?

Originally, the word going around was that this was the result of an attack - specifically, that e-Terrorist group "Anonymous" had taken PSN offline to protest about the treatment of George "Geohot" Hotz, who managed to finally break through Sony's seemingly bulletproof antipiracy measures on the PS3 and whom Sony recently settled with out of court.

Anonymous, however, have publicly stated that this attack is not related to them. Typically, Anonymous attacks have taken the form of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, where thousands of computers launch thousands of simultaneous requests for service from a server, overwhelming it and causing it to fail.

In a recent blog post, however, Sony stated that PSN was offline due to an intrusion - wording which would suggest that a more traditional hack (i.e. someone breaking through security and obtaining access to your network directly despite any protection you might have against such intrusion) has taken place.

So when's it coming back?
It's not clear - although another blog post seems to suggest that it could be some time, with Sony stating that "Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security."

Is my Credit Card data at risk?
A valid question - made all the more concerning, perhaps, as Sony have yet to state that this data is secure; something that they most likely would have, should they know that it is. That they're not saying anything specific suggests that it might well have been compromised.

UPDATE 12pm, 27 April: The deeper we dive into the rabbit hole, the weirder things get. The latest rumour is that Sony are indeed concerned about people ripping off credit cards - but not in the way you might have thought.

Instead of a hacker externally accessing the backend of the PlayStation Network
and stealing your credit card, 1up are reporting that what Sony might be most fearful of is people using hacked PlayStations to steal content from the PlayStation Store by using fake credit card details.

It's a complicated situation but, in a nutshell, the way it works is as follows: Sony has two networks - one public, which we all use, and another private one - just for developers. PlayStation hackers have found a way to circumvent Sony's recent methods of preventing them getting onto the public network by instead jumping onto the developer network and following various back door exploits from there.

Using this same back door, the hackers are also able to trick the PlayStation Network into believing a purchase has been legitimately completed via the Store with a real credit card, when in fact there has been no successful transaction, which triggers the Store to hand over the keys to any online-purchasable items that are currently available.

If true, this would indeed be a significant issue for Sony.

So that about wraps up the details we have at the moment - how do you feel about it? Should PlayStation owners be compensated as a result of the service being offline? Or is this a reasonable expectation for a service that people don't pay for in the first place (not including PSN+ users, who should reasonably expect compensation)?



 

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Comments (27)

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Takuyafire
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 10:57 AM Posted by Takuyafire
Just to point out, most people don't seem to get what GeoHotz did. Yes he was an enabler for open piracy on the PS3 but really he got the rootkey to tamper with the OS and allow people to revert to custom OS installation on the PS3 as was originally intended.

I would wager this attack has nothing to do with the attack on GeoHot (which as I understand it is a settled matter) but rather a continuation of the fight against locking down the PS3
 
 
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cleggy
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 11:11 AM Posted by cleggy
The only bit I'm really concerned about is the lack of information surrounding our credit card information. The rest is all a mere inconvenience, but if our credit card info has been compromised, Sony need to be upfront about this ASAP so we can take the required action to protect ourselves from fraud.
 
 
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oh2bme NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 11:12 AM Posted by oh2bme
Terms of Services for PSN state that the network can go down at anytime without notice and the only thing you can be say "compensated" for is the money in your store wallet.

Can I suggest if your worried about Credit Card info call your bank and explain the situation and have them keep an eye on your transactions just to be safe.
 
 
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oh2bme NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 11:15 AM Posted by oh2bme
And also I believe that Xbox live was down for 2weeks xmas '08 so not quite the most significant outage in living memory unless your 3.
 
 
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phantom
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 11:26 AM Posted by phantom
26 April 2011, 11:15 AM Reply to oh2bme
And also I believe that Xbox live was down for 2weeks xmas '08 so not quite the most significant outage in living memory unless your 3.
That depends on how good your memory is, not your age ("living memory" not "time living"). If anything, getting older makes this worse, not better :P
 
 
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Kryten
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 12:14 PM Posted by Kryten
26 April 2011, 11:15 AM Reply to oh2bme
And also I believe that Xbox live was down for 2weeks xmas '08 so not quite the most significant outage in living memory unless your 3.
Mostly broken and intermittently working (due to a ton of new XBL accounts coming on over the Christmas break), not completely down and most definitely not deliberately shutdown by Microsoft. There's a small distinction between the two, and at least MS had the balls to talk to customers about the problems during the event, not bury their heads in the sand.
 
 
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hudiscapidicus
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 1:06 PM Posted by hudiscapidicus
If the big problem is with stealing from PSN store, why not just shut down that feature? That way people can still at least play online, etc.
 
 
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souljah685 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 1:08 PM Posted by souljah685
this is becoming more frustrating as the day goes by, i just want to walk into the hackers house and give him a piece of my mind...

however the only good thing about this outage is that i can finally complete some on my games on SP
 
 
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phantom
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 1:25 PM Posted by phantom
26 April 2011, 01:06 PM Reply to hudiscapidicus
If the big problem is with stealing from PSN store, why not just shut down that feature? That way people can still at least play online, etc.
I suspect an intrusion at this level will result in some significant reworking of the fundamental principles on which PSN is built. It could well be that it limps back online in stages, starting (as you suggest) with online MP...

Hopefully Sony can wrap this up and get us back in the game asap :S
 
 
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Kegz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 1:26 PM Posted by Kegz
I'd like to know who these hackers are, usually they can't wait to brag all over the show.
 
 
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TONGZ
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 1:28 PM Posted by TONGZ
I actually finished Black Ops on veteran cause of this
 
 
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RealmEnder
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 1:52 PM Posted by RealmEnder
It is inconvenient and I would expect a free game or some credit on PSN as compensation.

It's not a big enough problem for me for me to quit my PS3, although incidents like this do have an effect on buying habits. After two RROD episodes on 360 I began purchasing all my multi platform games on PS3 for fear of it happening again out of warranty. PC Gaming is looking better all the time.

This must have had a negative impact on the much anticipated release of Portal 2 with it's Steam/PSN features and BRINK is only a few weeks away. It would be rage inducing if I couldn't play it because PSN was down.
 
 
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makzpowers
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 2:20 PM Posted by makzpowers
urrgghhh!
We should get some sort of compensation
 
 
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phantom
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 2:41 PM Posted by phantom
26 April 2011, 01:52 PM Reply to RealmEnder
It is inconvenient and I would expect a free game or some credit on PSN as compensation.

It's not a big enough problem for me for me to quit my PS3, although incidents like this do have an effect on buying habits. After two RROD episodes on 360 I began purchasing all my multi platform games on PS3 for fear of it happening again out of warranty. PC Gaming is looking better all the time.

This must have had a negative impact on the much anticipated release of Portal 2 with it's Steam/PSN features and BRINK is only a few weeks away. It would be rage inducing if I couldn't play it because PSN was down.
That's what I'm interested to hear more about - what impact this is having on people's purchasing decisions. Portal 2 is a big one - I personally bought it on PS3 so I could play against people on PC and then play it on PC myself once I get my new 'puter later this week. None of which is currently possible.


Mortal Kombat is another, as thanks to its focus on multiplayer, being able to get online with it is a big deal. Will the sway of Kratos keep those that have 360s and PS3s in the PlayStation camp or will this outage see those sales go the way of the 360? Will PSN be up when it comes out at the end of the week?
 
 
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Ubercuber NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 2:52 PM Posted by Ubercuber
26 April 2011, 02:41 PM Reply to phantom
That's what I'm interested to hear more about - what impact this is having on people's purchasing decisions. Portal 2 is a big one - I personally bought it on PS3 so I could play against people on PC and then play it on PC myself once I get my new 'puter later this week. None of which is currently possible.


Mortal Kombat is another, as thanks to its focus on multiplayer, being able to get online with it is a big deal. Will the sway of Kratos keep those that have 360s and PS3s in the PlayStation camp or will this outage see those sales go the way of the 360? Will PSN be up when it comes out at the end of the week?
The outage doesn't affect me as I do 99% of my gaming offline. I do find it hilarious though that that it happened right on Easter weekend in the middle of the school holidays. Funny how people act like its impossible to deal with. This WAS gaming about 10 years ago.

The only people that should get any compensation should be PS+ members.
 
 
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phantom
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 3:02 PM Posted by phantom
26 April 2011, 02:52 PM Reply to Ubercuber
The outage doesn't affect me as I do 99% of my gaming offline. I do find it hilarious though that that it happened right on Easter weekend in the middle of the school holidays. Funny how people act like its impossible to deal with. This WAS gaming about 10 years ago.

The only people that should get any compensation should be PS+ members.
That pretty much exactly sums up my personal take on it too. The timing thing was particularly annoying for me, as I purchased Portal 2 on PS3 specifically for online, so I could actually play something with friends lolz. Ah well.
 
 
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Ubercuber NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 3:07 PM Posted by Ubercuber
26 April 2011, 03:02 PM Reply to phantom
That pretty much exactly sums up my personal take on it too. The timing thing was particularly annoying for me, as I purchased Portal 2 on PS3 specifically for online, so I could actually play something with friends lolz. Ah well.
Thats why offline co-op on Portal 2 is full of win. I had SLAF around and we mowed through it, and could easily throw ideas around on how to pass levels. If that was online it woulda pissed me off.
 
 
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phantom
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 3:11 PM Posted by phantom
26 April 2011, 03:07 PM Reply to Ubercuber
Thats why offline co-op on Portal 2 is full of win. I had SLAF around and we mowed through it, and could easily throw ideas around on how to pass levels. If that was online it woulda pissed me off.
Hah! That's exactly how i'm playing it, only with the wife. It's great to puzzle through things like that with someone in the room heh. Still dead keen to see how the co-op puzzles play, though. Sooo much potential in this game D:
 
 
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Ubercuber NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 3:18 PM Posted by Ubercuber
26 April 2011, 03:11 PM Reply to phantom
Hah! That's exactly how i'm playing it, only with the wife. It's great to puzzle through things like that with someone in the room heh. Still dead keen to see how the co-op puzzles play, though. Sooo much potential in this game D:
Unfortunately that potential is only around for 1 play through. Portal 2 defines 'hire'.
 
 
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souljah685 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 3:22 PM Posted by souljah685
regarding compensation please see the ps3 thread "issues signing in" under terms and conditions, compensation is very unlikely at this stage, however if Sony are kind hearted ppl (cough cough) then it will be a bonus

playing online on ps3 is a free service, therefore i dont see what compensation we will get unless your a PS+ user... other than that i just want them to hurry up & fix the problem LOL
 
 
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p1nkm15t NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 4:52 PM Posted by p1nkm15t
That credit card hack sounds similar to one tried on paypal and a few online retailers (Successfully, I might add) a couple of months back. (Done by proper security researchers; not naughty people)
Interesting stuff if you could get your head around it. I wonder if that's part of their 'beefing'...
 
 
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OriginalSin NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 8:08 PM Posted by OriginalSin
Is this outage happening globally? or just New Zealand?
 
 
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Wh1teDeAth88
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 8:15 PM Posted by Wh1teDeAth88
While the PSN being down is extremely frustrating, I do not believe Sony owes us compensation, except for PS Plus members. I am not one myself, but at least freeze their subscription while it's down, its only fair. However, what I do believe they most certainly DO owe us, is ANSWERS! They have not been forthcoming with any information at all, I would especially appreciate an answer as to my personal information and credit card details being compromised, and this is just pure speculation, but if our details ARE safe, then why havnt they said so? Ignoring this question that THOUSANDS of gamers have been asking leads me to believe that our details most certainly have been, for want of a better word, f**ked with. Not happy Sony. And I sincerely hope that somebody finds out the personal details of who's responsible for taking down the PSN and posts them on the net. Now that would be justice.
 
 
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Wh1teDeAth88
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 8:17 PM Posted by Wh1teDeAth88
26 April 2011, 08:08 PM Reply to OriginalSin
Is this outage happening globally? or just New Zealand?
Globally. Sony Japan released a statement 3 hours ago saying it has taken down the PSN Indefinitly. They are rebuilding the entire network, so we could be out of action for weeks for all we know.
 
 
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phantom
On Tuesday 26 Apr 2011 9:16 PM Posted by phantom
26 April 2011, 08:08 PM Reply to OriginalSin
Is this outage happening globally? or just New Zealand?
It's global
 
 
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guido NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 27 Apr 2011 8:49 AM Posted by guido
Oh goody!!?
http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/04/26/update-on-playstation-network-and-qriocity/
They tell us to "remain vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports"?!? WTF?! Not good enough SONY!!
 
 
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Takuyafire
On Wednesday 27 Apr 2011 12:41 PM Posted by Takuyafire
Holy crap I love my PC right now
 
 
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