Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sony PlayStation: No Network, No Explanation; Big Trouble

"Sony mum on details about ongoing PlayStation Network outage"
Mark Milian, CNN Tech (April 25, 2011)

"PlayStation Network users are still waiting for an extra life.

"Five days after a hacker invaded Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation Network resulting in a lengthy outage, the video game giant has yet to offer a comprehensive explanation.

"PlayStation internet services went offline on Wednesday and have remained down....

"..Sony has said the persistent downtime was due to an 'external intrusion,' but has not provided a target date for when services will return. Sony previously said it was rebuilding its framework to ensure proper security measures are put in place....

The Lemming doesn't envy the folks at Sony who are trying to sort out what happened and fix the problem - and those whose job it is to figure out what to tell Sony's PlayStation customers.

That said, the Lemming also thinks it's not smart to describe the problem as an "external intrusion" and leave it at that: assuming that the CNN article gave the correct impression.

On the other hand, Sony's said that it will let its customers know if there's bad news:

Let's Hope Sony Follows Through

"...A Sony spokesman in Tokyo, where the company is headquartered, said investigations haven't uncovered whether the intruders gained access to personal information or credit card numbers, according to a report from technology news service IDG. The spokesman reportedly said Sony would contact those affected if investigators discover that info was leaked...."
(CNN Tech)

That was yesterday. Looks like Sony had some reason for not wanting to talk about the "external intrusion." What happened is - embarrassing.

Customer Relations 101: Tell - Them - the - Truth

"Sony PlayStation suffers massive data breach"
Liana B. Baker and Jim Finkle, Edition: U.S., Reuters (April 26, 2011)

"Sony suffered a massive breach in its video game online network that led to the theft of names, addresses and possibly credit card data belonging to 77 million user accounts in what is one of the largest-ever Internet security break-ins.

"Sony learned that user information had been stolen from its PlayStation Network seven days ago, prompting it to shut down the network immediately. But Sony did not tell the public until Tuesday....

If that "...did not tell the public until Tuesday..." thing sounds familiar, it should. Major Japanese companies are starting to earn a reputation for not letting their customers worry. Or not giving their customers important information fast enough.

It depends on how you look at it, the Lemming supposes.

Trick Brakes; Melting Reactors: and Now World-Class Data Theft

"...The electronics conglomerate is the latest Japanese company to come under fire for not disclosing bad news quickly. Tokyo Electric Power Co was criticized for how it handled the nuclear crisis after the March earthquake. Last year, Toyota Motor Corp was slammed for being less than forthright about problems surrounding its massive vehicle recall.

"The 'illegal and unauthorized person' obtained people's names, addresses, email address, birth dates, usernames, passwords, logins, security questions and more, Sony said on its U.S. PlayStation blog on Tuesday....

"...Alan Paller, research director of the SANS Institute, said the breach may be the largest theft of identity data information on record...."
(Reuters)

"There's no such thing as bad publicity" is an old saying - but the Lemming thinks this may be an exception. On the other hand, Sony could take some pride in having possibly set a world record.

No, on consideration, the Lemming thinks that there isn't all that much of an 'up' side to this SNAFU, from Sony's point of view.

As for the folks who may or may not be told by Sony that someone stole their "...names, addresses, email address, birth dates, usernames, passwords, logins, security questions and more...," the Lemming hopes that not too many of them learn about 'identify theft' up close and personal.

If someone had the Lemming's real name, mailing address, email address, and all the rest - plus, say, credit card information - well, the Lemming is glad that Sony PlayStation doesn't have that data.

This could be a really bad situation, even assuming that all companies, world-wide, are extra-special-super-careful about making sure that their new customers really are who they say they are.

The Lemming tries to stay 'upbeat.' But seriously? This is emphatically not good news.

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