Several companies confirm attacks as service returns, hacking group claims responsibility
Some of the most popular gaming services are reportedly under attack as a series of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) has been underway since last week. Shacknews reports that Blizzard, Grinding Gear Games, PlayStation Network, Riot and Sony Online Entertainment have all been undergoing a series of attacks leading to connection instabilities and service failures. While the attack was initially thought to be limited to a few companies, it's been discovered that several additional gaming services and websites have been targeted as far back as August 18 by a hacking group.
Free games, subscriptions offered as compensation for PSN intrusion
Sony has agreed to a preliminary settlement worth $15 million in a hacking class-action lawsuit in the United States. The agreement, which still requires approval from a judge, will see Sony handing out free games to console owners affected by the April 2011 PlayStation Network hack, which saw the shutdown of the service and Qriocity for several weeks, as well as compromising personal data and credit card information from over 77 million users.
Password resets on European PSN accounts over possible irregular activity
Sony has reset the password on a number of PlayStation Network (PSN) accounts. The changes, made as a "precautionary measure" just in case the account was compromised, have taken place on European accounts just days before the company is due to launch its next-generation PlayStation 4 game console on the continent.
ICO states Sony 'should have known better' before securing PlayStation Network
Sony will be paying a fine of £250,000 ($376,000) to a British regulator, over its handling of a data breach. Sony has decided not to appeal the fine from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), relating to the PlayStation Network hack in 2011 which saw personal data and payment details for millions of its customers being put at risk.
Gaming network intrusion 'could have been prevented'
Sony has been fined £250,000 ($395,000) by the Information Commissioner's Office of the United Kingdom over the April 2011 hack of the PlayStation Network. The UK authority criticized Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, claiming the online gaming system's infiltration "could have been prevented" if security software used by SCEE had been kept up-to-date, with increased security on user passwords.
PSN down for half a day on Monday
Sony triggered an upset among gamers on Sunday with notice that it would be taking down the PlayStation Network for maintenance during 13 hours on Monday. From 9AM Eastern until 10PM, gamers won't have the option of playing any games online, checking their accounts, or using services like PlayStation Home and the PlayStation Store. Websites that need PSN, even including the official PlayStation blog, would also be switched off.
LulzSec member admits to hacking Sony
The original LulzSec team was dealt a hit Thursday after member Cody Kretsinger pleaded guilty to his role in the Sony Pictures hack from last year. He agreed to accept convictions over charges of both conspiracy and "unauthorized impairment of a protected computer" in return for a deal. The admission was a reversal of an earlier not guilty plea.
Suit claims iTunes and PSN owe inventor credit
An attempt at two high-profile lawsuits has accused Apple and Sony of violating a patent for online stores. Pretoria, South Africa citizen Ben Grobler has alleged that both the iTunes Store and PlayStation Network (now Sony Entertainment Network) are copying technology for a "Data Vending System" patent granted in the US in 2004. Their systems of selling, storing, and managing copyrighted apps and media was drawing on the technology, Grobler said in a Northern District of California court.
PS3 4.11 and Xbox 360 update appear
Microsoft and Sony unintentionally posted simultaneous updates for their game systems overnight on Thursday. The Xbox 360 has received its promised fix for a color space issue, where certain apps and video playback would distort the colors. The upgrade is required to keep using Xbox Live and will translate to individual apps.
Sony gives PSN new SEN badge in days
Sony has given notice that the unification of its online entertainment services mentioned during its CES keynote would affect the PlayStation Network on February 7. A terms of service change will see the service renamed as part of the Sony Entertainment Network. Actual functionality should stay the same.
PS Vita games get discount over PSN
A quick investigation has confirmed that PlayStation Vita owners in the US will get a discount on games if they buy through the PlayStation Network. Shacknews heard that, as in Japan, games will not just be available the same day as a download but will be price-cut over their retail versions. The discounts are about 10 percent over boxed copies, or about $4-5 for games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
Sony tempts gamers with special PS Vita deal
Sony has hoped to lure gamers to the PlayStation Vita with another bundle for the official February 22 US arrival. The Launch Day bundle mates the 3G version of the console with a free month's pass for 250MB of AT&T data. While most of the accessories aren't present from the First Edition bundle, gamers get a twice-as-large 8GB memory card to encourage more game and add-on downloads.
Nintendo Network to accompany 3DS and Wii U
Nintendo's Friday briefing in the wake of its tough quarterly results has confirmed that it plans to at last go head-to-head with Microsoft and Sony in a persistent online gaming network. Just called Nintendo Network, it will let gamers download chat and play with each other without needing friend codes in addition to getting game add-ons. On the Wii U, gamers will have personal accounts, presumably letting them transport their Mii, downloads, and other preferences across systems.
Sony sued over addition of PSN do-not-sue clause
Sony is being sued for the new clause in its PlayStation Network end-user license agreement that protects it from just such things, Geek reported on Tuesday. The addition was made in September and prompted games developer EA and software giant Microsoft to make similar changes. Under the terms, PSN gamers must agree not to sue Sony if their accounts are hacked in the future or if anything else goes wrong.
Judge dismisses PlayStation case on lack of ground
Judge Richard Seeborg is now known to have completely dismissed the PlayStation 3 Other OS lawsuit late last week. A ruling made public on Tuesday (below) eliminated the one remaining complaint of violation surrounding the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. While sympathetic to the gamers for losing the ability to boot Linux on the PS3, Judge Seeborg determined that Anthony Ventura and other plaintiffs hadn't persuaded the court that Sony was legally responsible.
Valve says Steam payment, passwords may be at risk
Valve Software co-founder Gabe Newell warned in a message to users that a forum hack found on November 6 had also touched on vital account information. After an investigation, the Portal 2 developer found that the unnamed intruders had gotten into a database that also had account names, e-mail, encrypted credit card numbers and passwords, and purchase records. While Valve had no reason to think the account information itself had been compromised, Newell advised gamers to watch their credit card activity "closely."
Offers 10X rewards points for games and rentals
Sony has teamed up with Capital One to offer a rewards card for PlayStation enthusiasts. The PlayStation Card will offer ten times the reward points for every purchase made on the PlayStation Network. This includes game-related PSN purchases as well as PSN movie or TV show purchases and rentals.
Sony limits PS3 and PSP game reach to curb sharing
Sony on Friday outlined a plan to curb the number of devices that can use a game. Any PlayStation Store game for the PS3 or PSP bought after November 18 will be limited to two activations at a time for each device type, down from the current five. Gamers will have to turn activations on or off either on the devices themselves or on the web.
Sony locks down 93K accounts after possible breach
Sony's chief security officer Philip Reitinger warned late Tuesday that there had been a "massive" account cracking attempt on the PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment. While it failed against the wide majority, the attempt successfully cracked the login info for about 93,000 accounts, 60,000 of which were PSN. All of those accounts were locked down to prevent a hijack, Sony said.
Search by title, actor, category, studio, more
A post on the PlayStation Network blog describes a new application called "Video Unlimited - preview." The app will be available from the Media section of the PlayStation store. The app provides previews for over 40,000 items in the PSN library. It gives users an extremely flexible search tool, allowing searches by title, actor, director, category, studio, and more. When an item is selected, the app gives the usual synopsis in the middle of the screen, and suggestions for other viewing in a sidebar on the right side.
PSN down again in US, Europe for hours
Sony's PlayStation Network has once again gone down, with an error message (8002A548) greeting users trying to log in. Sony is aware of the issue, saying so on its Twitter page. The network is down on a large scale as well, as the PlayStation Blog Europe is also saying the network is down. While the usual promises of work being done to get the service restored are being made, there is no reason given for the outage.
New EULA arrives alongside a mandatory update
Sony has reportedly modified its PlayStation Network end-user license agreement to help shield the company from class-action lawsuits. The company is currently in the process of pushing mandatory updates for the PSN service, though the update requires users to agree to a new set of terms that prohibits subscribers from joining a class-action proceeding.
Security chief ups confidence for online plans
Sony has tapped a veteran of the US Department of Homeland security for the newly created position of chief information security officer. Former director of the U.S. National Cyber Security Center Philip Reitnger will become a senior vice president with the company and report to general counsel Nicole Seligman. The move comes in response to the attack on Sony's Playstation Network in April that caused a monthlong shutdown of the network and compromised the personal information of millions of PSN subscribers.
Zune, PlayStation stores lose ground
iTunes movie sales have managed a turnaround in US marketshare, according to research firm IHS. During the first half of 2011, Apple's portion of electronic sellthrough and video-on-demand spending grew to 65.8 percent, versus 64.9 percent in the first half of 2010. In an equivalent gap between 2009 and 2010, Apple dropped by 11.9 percent. IHS remarks that Apple's last rise in share was during 2009.
Claims no responsibility in 55+ class action suits
Zurich American Insurance, one of several companies insuring Sony, has filed a lawsuit in New York's Superior Court arguing that it isn't responsible to protect the entertainment giant from class-actions and other lawsuits as well as legal investigations that could arise from the recent hacking of Sony's PlayStation Network and Qriocity service. Zurich has also sued other insurance companies who also be responsible for coverage. To date, the breaches have cut Sony's operating profit by an estimated $178 million.
Sony initiates unannounced security fix
Sony briefly took down the PlayStation Network late Tuesday afternoon in a surprise move. The unannounced shutdown caught users off-guard forcing them to install an additional security fix. Gamers who tried to access their network accounts were greeted with this error message: “An error has occurred. You have been signed out of PlayStation Network. (80710016). Please wait." Following the outage, Sony posted a message on its support pages that tells users that to regain access, they will need to install a new firmware update and create a new password.
Sony restores Japanese PSN and Qriocity services
Sony has announced that it will finally restore its PlayStation Network (PSN) and Qriocity digital entertainment and media content services in Japan on Wednesday. The services have been down since April 20 when Sony’s servers suffered a massive security breach that resulted in the theft of the user data of over 77 million users. As with the restoration of service in the North America and around the world, Japanese customers will be able to take advantage of a “Welcome Back” program that includes extended and free trial memberships as well as free games.
Sony talks PSVita and more at E3 2011 event
Sony is holding its E3 press conference for E3 2011 on the USC campus tonight. The company is expected to formally rechristen the NGP as the PSVita, its main challenge to Apple and Nintendo in the gaming space. Visit our live coverage page from 8PM Eastern or 5PM Pacific for real-time updates as they happen.
PSN Welcome Back greets PS3, PSP gamers before E3
Sony wrapped up its pre-E3 run with word that its Welcome Back program was now live. As promised, PSN members from before the service went down April 20 can choose two PS3 games and two PSP games if they own one or both systems. Both platforms get older but major titles, such as Infamous and Wipeout HD Fury on the PS3 and LittleBigPlanet or Killzone Liberation on the PSP.
Lulz Security hits Sony again in security message
Sony was embarrassed again on Thursday after Lulz Security posted that it had successfully hacked Sony Pictures' website. It lived up to its earlier promise and used a basic SQL injection attack to expose one million users' personal data, 3.5 million digital coupons and 75,000 music codes. The hacking team found that the information had few defenses and that none of the data, even including passwords, were stored in clear text.
PlayStation Store and PSN completely back
Sony at the turn of midnight Thursday said it had brought back the PlayStation Store as promised this week. The shop and its DLC were available immediately in North America and also included new content, including new demos, full games, add-ons, and sales. Both PS3 and PSP owners could get to the new content.
Sony vows all PSN services due for most by weekend
Sony told gamers early Tuesday that most countries would have nearly all their PlayStation Network service back by the end of the week. The additions would include the PlayStation Store as well as in-game DLC, Media Go sharing, and the Music Unlimited side of the Qriocity music service. Video on Demand and non-PlayStation Qriocity music were due to get details later.
LulzSec plans new wave of Sony hacking
Hacking collective Lulz Security teased on Sunday that it was about to launch a fresh campaign against Sony "within the next day." Following attacks on Sony Music Japan and elsewhere, the first phase of "Sownage" (Sony ownage) was coming along with a "pre-game show." As expected, the group didn't name its targets other than some Sony websites.
Sony to explain PSN breach to Congress next week
Sony in a statement Saturday confirmed it would at last testify in front of Congress over the PlayStation Network hack in April. The company had refused the first time, arguing that it was too busy investigating the hack, but now said Sony Network Entertainment International head Tim Schaaff would present at a broader information security hearing on June 2. The company had already answered some issues in a letter, but its appearance in person would be appreciated, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack's spokesman, Ken Johnson, told the New York Times.
Sony promises PSN back in Asia this weekend
Sony has announced that it would restore PSN gaming service in Japan and other regions in Asia on Saturday. The return would come over a month after the gaming network was voluntarily shut down following a hack and over a week later than other regions. Japan's government didn't let Sony reinstate user access to the network until Sony could ensure it made the necessary fixes to ensure this kind of hack doesn't happen again.
Customers offered 1 year of ID theft protection
Sony has announced that the special identity theft protection program that it is offering to PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers is live as of today. Sony initiated the program to help regain and retain customers after the recent hacking and theft of personal customer information from its websites that began in late April. The program provides PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders with 12 months of no cost AllClear ID Plus protection from Debix, an identity protection specialist.
Sony Ericsson site in Canada hacked, info exposed
The city of Taipei in Taiwan is unsatisfied with Sony's response to its request for information regarding the security leak after Sony's PSN gaming network was hacked. According to ComputerWorld, government officials aren't happy with Sony's offer to extend PSN memberships as compensation for the breach, which left personal and credit card information of users exposed. If Sony didn't answer Taipei's letter within 10 days, it could face a fine between the equivalent of about $1,036 and $10,360.
Sony Music Japan joins other Sony hacks
Sony faced the latest in a string of hacks on Tuesday after a second breach. A new hack against Sony Music Japan has used two SQL database injection attacks to get access to the site's contents. Lulz Security, a 'gray' hacking group playing on the 4chan meme, didn't crack servers hosting valuable information and said they had just done it to "embarrass Sony some more."
Sony solves PSN password exploit in same day
Sony quickly responded to talk of the PSN password reset exploit with a response of its own. Senior corporate communications head Patrick Seybold acknowledged that there had been a "URL exploit" in the password reset tool but that it already been fixed. He rebuffed claims by some that it was a hack and emphasized that it was on the web.
Sony PSN hit again through password exploits
Sony took an embarrassing blow on Tuesday as it confirmed that it had taken down its PSN and Qriocity password reset tools just after bringing service back. An exploit has surfaced that needs only a gamer's e-mail address and the holder's date of birth to get a new password and hijack an account. Eurogamer had seen video evidence of the exploit proving that it worked.
Company announces perks following outage
Sony has announced a new "customer appreciation program" that aims to pacify frustrated customers who have been affected by the ongoing PlayStation Network and Qriocity outages. Customers will be able to choose from two free PS3 games, including Dead Nation, inFAMOUS, LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD, or Wipeout HD + Fury. PSP owners will also be eligible to download two PSP games such as LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers, Pursuit Force, or Killzone Liberation.
Sony pushes PS3 3.61 to brace for PSN return
(Update 2: PSN now back) Sony on Saturday night said it was rolling out the promised mandatory new firmware for PS3s to get ready for the return of the PlayStation network. The 3.61 update pushes a password change and also requires that password changes for PS3 users can only take place on the PS3 itself. Those who've never used a PS3 to get content will still get an e-mail with a one-time link to change the password.
Amazon EC2 cloud-based server used in PSN hacks
Amazon’s EC2 cloud-based rental server service is reported to have been utilized as a proxy in the Sony PlayStation Network hacks. According to Bloomberg, a person with knowledge of the matter has revealed that the hackers used an alias to rent an Amazon EC2 server and used it as the staging point for the attack. The person said that Amazon has closed the account used for the hack.
Sony says site shutdown due to maintenance
Sony has righted a Wednesday report that its US PlayStation website went down due to another hacker attack. According to Reuters, the company said the site outage was due to the installation of a new security measure. This caused the US PlayStation site inaccessible from select regions outside of the US.
Sony update on PSN status: a few more days
Sony has posted an update on its PlayStation blog regarding the near three-week long PSN outage. While it cannot give an exact date for when access to the network will be returned, an apologetic Sony says it will "likely be at least a few more days." The security breach potentially exposed the private information or more than 100 million user accounts.
Sony says PSN may stay partly down until May 31
Sony spokesman Shigenori Yoshida said Monday in Tokyo that the ongoing PlayStation Network outage wouldn't be resolved until May 31. While basic service didn't have a timetable for coming back, it wasn't expected to impact a more definitive plan to have everything back by the end of the month, he told Bloomberg. PSN is due to come back with a new security model and will require a password change along with new PS3 and possibly PSP firmware.
Sony stalls PSN restoration as names leak
Sony in an update said that its PlayStation Network restoration would take longer than expected. The company was still in final testing but said "additional comprehensive system checks" were needed before it went back up. The company explained that the estimate given at its media conference in Japan of a week-long process hadn't factored in the then-unknown SOE breach and needed extra time.
Sony mulls price on head of PSN hackers
Sony might offer a cash reward to whoever could turn in those who hacked into the PlayStation Network. A slip from sources said Sony was actively discussing the prospect of a bounty and, if it went ahead, would team with regional police to coordinate the payout. The electronics giant hadn't settled on a reward as a course of action and would need top-level approval from Sony headquarters to go ahead, AllThingsD said.
Splinter from Anonymous said at fault for PSN hack
A pair of unnamed Anonymous members alleged on Friday that the PlayStation Network hack was the fault of a splinter group from their team. While the larger group has publicly denied involvement, the two told the FT that one or a small number of those backing OpSony, the campaign to punish Sony for limiting and suing over PS3 jailbreaks, decided to go further than everyone else. One of the two claimed to have seen details of an exploit posted shortly before the hack went through.
Group behind threat remains unclear
Hackers are reportedly organizing another attack aimed at Sony, following criticism over the company's reaction to two significant security breaches that have occurred in the past two months. The identity of the group remains unclear, though the actions do not appear to be driven by Anonymous or the hackers responsible for the PlayStation Network hack.