Sony is treading uncertain waters as the company’s executive deputy president – and the likely successor to CEO Howard Stringer – Kaz Hirai offered their “deepest and sincerest apologies” during a press conference in Tokyo.
Sony started by apologising for the outage of the Playstation Network, as well as an extra apology to those customers whose personal information may have been compromised. Hirai and two other Sony executives bowed deeply, in the traditional Japanese custom of apology.
Hirai was willing to confirm that lots of customers and users of the Playstation Network had had their account information stolen as the result of a hacker. This hacker’s attack has forced Sony to close down their Playstation Network and Qriocity services for the last two weeks. Sony has said it was first alerted to the attack on the 20th of April and has been working tirelessly with two security firms to investigate how the breach was possible.This job has now become even hard with the second confirmed attack today on 04 May 2011.
“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers but our entire industry,” Hirai said. “These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security.”
The main question everyone wants an answer for though, is whether or not user’s credit card information could be stolen. This possibility has raised questions from the U.S. Congress.
Hirai and his two Sony executive colleagues at the press conference repeatedly asserted that Sony has found “no evidence” that credit card data or billing information had been stolen. However, Hirai would not rule out the possibility. Sony is urging people to check their credit card history and statements and to keep a close eye on these for a while to come, just in case.
Sony has moved its Playstation Network and Qrioicity services to a new data center to prevent the possibility of a similar attack occurring again. Sony has also implemented new security measures, including additional firewalls, enhanced encryption and automated software monitoring.
A new role has also popped up within Sony, that of Chief Information Security Officer. This position will be a senior executive whom will report to Sony Chief Information Officer Shinji Hasejima. On top of this, Sony will require all users to change their passwords and have included additional security measures to help verify identity.
As a result of this, however, Sony says it will be able to resume Playstation Networks services within the next week. This will include the restoration of online gameplay, Qriocity music services, friend lists, chat functionality and movie rental services.
To apologise to individuals, Sony is also launching a “Welcome Back” campaign to keep customer’s loyalty after what has transpired. Sony will be offering a affected users a 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus and some free software downloads. Qriocity customers will be receiving 30 additional days of service for free. But all of that will probably have to wait until they resolve the latest crisis. Something is telling me their computer service people are off their feet at the moment!
Over and out