x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Phased return for Sony network

Sony expects gaming, music and video services to be turned on 'within the week' after its network was attacked by hackers, gaining access to the data of 77 million users.

Sony will begin a phased reactivation of the PlayStation Network this week, more than 10 days after the global service was shut down because hackers gained access to personal information on more than 77 million users.

The names, e-mail addresses and passwords of more than 1 million users of the gaming network in the Middle East were compromised in what is believed to be one of the largest breaches of online privacy to date.

Tim Stokes, the sales and marketing director for PlayStation Sony Gulf, said the company could not say exactly when the global network would be back online, but he expected gaming, music and video services to be turned on "within the week".

"I think when the company is confident, everything will go back online. Account details will be one of the areas that we need to be sure won't be susceptible to attacks," Mr Stokes said.

The security of Sony's PlayStation Network, which offers online games, movies and TV shows, was breached between April 17 and April 19, the company said last week.

The network has 650,000 users in Saudi Arabia and 250,000 in the Emirates.

Sony estimates it has a total of 1,093,000 account holders in the Middle East - 27,000 of them with credit card details online.

The company said yesterday that since the security breach, it had implemented measures to provide greater protection of personal information.

One of the first services to be restored will be the ability to change personal details and passwords, the company said.

Also in the first phase of network reactivation will be online gaming across PlayStation 3 and PSP systems, including titles requiring online verification and downloaded games, and access to the on-demand music service.

As a form of compensation to users, Sony will also roll out a "welcome back" programme, which will be tailored to specific markets.

It is likely to include free downloadable content and 30 days free access to some of Sony's premium services.

The company is also creating the position of chief information security officer for the PlayStation Network.

That executive will report directly to Shinji Hasejima, the chief information officer of Sony Corporation.