PlayStation Network Still Down, Ups the Ante for Users with Identity Theft Insurance

playstation-network-fingerprint Thousands of TVs and controllers that would otherwise be playing Call of Duty and Killzone are still stranded as this weekend Sony delayed the restart of gaming services on PlayStation Network yet again. The gaming network and console developer appears to be playing it as safe as possible with the secret data of its customers by explaining that they need to spend extra time testing new security features.

According to a blog post from Saturday, Sony is indeed stressing security,

As you may know, we’ve begun the process of restoring the service through internal testing of the new system. We’re still working to confirm the security of the network infrastructure, as well as working with a variety of outside entities to confirm with them of the security of the system. Verifying the system security is vital for the process of restoration. Additional comprehensive system checks and testing are still required, and we must complete that process before bringing the systems online.

As you’ve heard us say, our utmost priorities are the security of the network and ensuring your data is safe. We won’t restore the services until we can test the system’s strength in these respects.

No details exist yet as to what their new time frame looks like, or even if we’ll be seeing PSN reappearing this week. If Sony doesn’t manage to restore some part of PSN before Friday, they continue to risk even worse frustration from their already highly irritated user base. PlayStation Network has been offline since April 20th after they discovered the initial breach and no doubt they’ve probably suffered the worst possible attrition already over the past two weeks.

It’s not hard to tell now what’s probably dealt the worst possible blow to Sony’s gaming network and the answer is that it’s probably not the data breach—it’s the downtime. Incursions on our privacy and data breaches are common enough now that they’ve become the new customer-space disaster for most people who use services like PSN and other subscription models; but in many ways our culture understands the underlying risks. All of the things that follow a data breach continue even in the absence of the loss of the PlayStation Network connectivity.

Point in fact, turning off all of their services may be Sony’s way of getting ahead of criticisms over the data loss—especially noting how Congress themselves have gotten into an investigation of the level of the loss.

Sony themselves almost acknowledges this as they’re preparing to return the service into the hands of their users.

They’ve been touting a “Welcome Back” package for when the service is restored that will deliver a few weeks of free subscription time on PlayStation Network Plus and also $1m of identity theft protection for every user. These services cover both United States and European Union customers; in the US identity theft protection will be provided by Debix, Inc. but the EU version has yet to be announced. It is expected that users will receive free 12-months of the identity theft protection service, which would put Sony on the hook for financial losses extending from the breach to their customers.

Hopefully the protection as well as the free PSN Plus subscription time will soothe the extremely ruffled feathers of PSN’s userbase when it finally comes back.

Surely there’s a lot of thumbs jonesing to return to fragging and console-socialites who have been cut off from their friends across the world by the loss of the PlayStation Network in the wake of this breach.