Sony to fully restore PlayStation Network

Japanese electronics giant Sony announced on Monday that it would fully restore all PlayStation Network and Qriocity online distribution services in Japan on Wednesday, after shutting them down in April due to hacker attacks.

In the wake of the cyber attacks, Sony shut down those services on April 20 to conduct an investigation and boost the overall security of the network infrastructure, it said in a statement.

Except for Japan, the Japanese electronics giant had already restored the services in all other countries and regions where they operated before the shutdown, including the Americas, Europe, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The hacking attack on Sony compromised personal data from 100 million accounts. Critically, the compromised data included user passwords and financial information. Sony later suffered attacks on websites including in Greece, Thailand and Indonesia, and on the Canadian site of mobile phone company Sony Ericsson.
The technology giant faces a battle to regain the trust of millions of consumers after the attacks on networks integral to its strategy.

Sony was among the hardest hit in the hacker attacks which have plagued gaming networks, governmental agencies and banks in recent months. While the most recent big name attack on a gaming database – Sega’s Pass system – compromised some 1.3 million accounts, it escaped without user passwords and financial data being stolen.

Analysts say the breach could cost it around US$1 billion, but that attacks threatened deeper damage to Sony’s brand image and its efforts to link its gadgets to an online network of games, movies and music.

The hack attacks only added to Sony’s financial woes. In March this year, the Japanese giant announced its third straight annual loss. Investor confidence also appears to be at an all time low with Sony stocks falling more than 30 percent in 2011.

In an effort at containing the damage from the breach and consequent network shutdown, Sony has is offering users a “Welcome Back” package of services and premium content to all registered customers after the full restoration of services.

For now, the move seems to have worked with Sony recently claiming that up to 90 percent of the PlayStation Network (PSN) users had returned since the restoration of the service. –AFP with additional staff reporting.



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