Linux Returns, PSN Still Out, Sony Claims It Needs More Time

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News Posted: Mon, May 9 2011 2:49 PM
We're actually starting to feel a little sorry for Sony. The gaming console giant is reeling on the ropes from the network hacks that exposed the personal data of some 70 million subscribers, and the hits just keep on coming. Sony had initially planned to begin the process of bringing the PlayStation Network back online today, but those plans have been scrubbed. In a recent blog post, Patrick Seybold (senior director of corporate communications) noted that "we expected to have the services online within a week. We were unaware of the extent of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers, and we are taking this opportunity to conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system."

Sony still intends to have the network back online by May 31. Industry analysts are already trying to guess how much this outage will cost Sony in terms of business. Thus far, estimates have ranged as high as $1.25 billion—and that's not counting the cost of the network hardening, deployment, and upgrades currently taking place. The aftereffects of this failure could take years to heal. We suspect Sony's customers will forgive it readily enough, provided their financial data
isn't compromised, but an outage like this could cataclysmically effect the sales of certain game titles. While some titles remain on bestselling charts for months, games, like movies, often make the majority of their revenue within the first few weeks of availability. Single-player games may be less affected, but any game with a multiplayer element just got gutted. Such titles will now effectively 'launch' weeks past their official date, which may leave them facing stiff competition.



It should come as no surprise that Sony is considering offering a digital bounty on the heads of the perpetrators. Sony still claims Anonymous as its prime suspect. While that group admits bombarding Sony's service in a DDoS attack, it maintains that it was not involved and did not sanction the actual hacking of Sony's servers.

This entire mess started when Sony disabled OtherOS functionality in existing PS3 'fat' consoles (the PS3 Slim never supported Linux). That issue has now been remedied. A group calling itself Gitbrew has re-enabled Linux support on the PS3. The group's statement (and reason) for the support is simple:  "My hardware, my rules. I brought back what you took away."

At present, Sony is offering all impacted gamers a month of free PlayStation Plus and a year of identity theft protection (the exact details on how this latter service will function are a bit vague).  Rewards for European gamers are also in the offing, although these are apparently more complicated due to legal strictures.

The only upside is that thus far, there've been no reports of credit card fraud linked to PSN accounts and no uptick in fraud, period. So long as that remains the case, we think gamers will generally return once the network is up and running.
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Psh, title a little misleading... lol i thought something good came from the outage and they re-enabled it xD

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^I thought so when i read the title as well.... I still hope they do bring it back not that I would use it on my fatty, it would still be nice to have the option....

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HHGrrl replied on Mon, May 9 2011 7:07 PM

So users will get a year of identity theft protection? Given that this is well-publicized, what's to stop the hackers from being patient and using the info after a year or so when the dust has settled and users no longer have the free protection? Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I'd be worried about the longer-reaching effects on my personal data if it was part of this hack.

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Arg, here I was ready to pop the cork to celebrate sony admitting their wrong doing! I still have no pity for them. The situation is not as murky as someone running homebrew on their iphone, where the function was not intended and prohibited in user license agreement. This is retaliation for the retraction of functionality that was a genuine selling point of the original ps3.

That reminds me, does anyone know of any reports on if the ps3s the military bought were ever somehow effected? I doubt they would be, but neat-o to find out.

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djcad86 replied on Mon, May 9 2011 9:40 PM

@analogmonster...I don't envy Sony now, but I certainly wouldn't if there was the slim chance the military were hurt in any way by this. Hopefully they secured themselves enough, in case hardware and software they acquire from other parties had a security flaw some may take advantage of.

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Joel H replied on Mon, May 9 2011 11:40 PM

HHGirl,

You might be surprised at what sort of information commands top pricing on the identity theft market. Your social security number and credit history allow for very complete identity theft--but they also require a fair amount of time. It's not a simple process, and it requires particular targeting. This sort of information actually isn't worth much to your average buyer.

Credit card numbers *are* worth more, simply because they allow for simple, immediate gain. The flip side, however, is that the number of 'bad' credit cards in a batch of data increases dramatically as time passes. We can safely guess, for example, that a number of people canceled / replaced the credit cards they had logged into Sony's PSN in the wake of these announcements. Should Sony even hint that credit card fraud has risen as a result of the hack, a great many more will do so.

Sitting on the cards for a year would kill one's expected profit margin. A certain number of those cards would have naturally expired, some would've been changed as a result of the PSN crash, some would've been changed for other reasons (say the owner physically lost the card in question). All of these things substantially dilute the value of the sale.

I can't link you the studies offhand, but there've been examinations of how black markets treat various forms of consumer data. The more personal stuff is less preferred.

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3vi1 replied on Tue, May 10 2011 7:23 AM

I'm waiting to go to the custom firmware until I see if they get an actual RSX driver working now that the hardware access isn't blocked. I was in their IRC forum this weekend, and there seemed to be definite interest/investigation in that direction. As is, I still have Linux (and no PSN for the past year) because I refused to accept their agreement and update from 3.20.

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BMAN replied on Wed, May 11 2011 5:09 AM

The title is highly misleading; nowhere in the article (either here or at CNET) is Linux even mentioned, perhaps before randomly reprinting articles from other sources (CNET), you might want to check the facts within the article before displaying the same title.

Just my opinion.

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realneil replied on Wed, May 11 2011 10:51 AM

BMAN:
nowhere in the article (either here or at CNET) is Linux even mentioned

Did you even read the article?

QUOTE:  A group calling itself Gitbrew has re-enabled Linux support on the PS3. The group's statement (and reason) for the support is simple:  "My hardware, my rules. I brought back what you took away."

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BMAN replied on Wed, May 11 2011 5:26 PM

I stand corrected...but nowhere does it state that Linux has returned to the PS3 (being brought back by Sony); only that a group has re-enabled it, basically jail-breaking their PS3-which is what GeoHot did and look where that landed him.

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realneil replied on Wed, May 11 2011 6:41 PM

BMAN:
nowhere does it state that Linux has returned to the PS3 (being brought back by Sony)

I know that. Sony doesn't have the brains to backtrack and re-enable Linux on the PS2 because of that age old, overriding "Losing Face" problem that's so prevalent in their culture.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

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Joel H replied on Wed, May 11 2011 8:32 PM

BMan,

It seems you need a bit of a brushup on the use of a comma. Allow me to facilitate: "the comma is used where ambiguity might otherwise arise, to indicate an interpretation of the text such that the words immediately before and after the comma are less closely or exclusively linked in the associated grammatical structure that they might be otherwise."

Examine my title. If I intended to say *Sony* restores Linux functionality, I would've written: "Sony Re-enables OtherOS, PSN Network Still Out For Forseeable Future"

I left out the "Sony Returns Linux" because Sony *didn't* return Linux. Linux support, nevertheless, has been restored. Also, OtherOS means Linux. It's always meant Linux. That word has never been officially used to refer to a functional, installable OS that wasn't Linux.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, May 13 2011 8:47 PM

I gotta back Joel on this.  His wording... while it may have led to higher hopes to those of us that despise Sony... is technically and factually correct.  Thanks for the news, Joel.

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