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Sony starts to restore ME PlayStation network

Visitors play games on Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game consoles during the Tokyo Game Show. (GETTY/GALLO)

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI), will today [Sunday] begin a phased restoration by region of PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, the company announced on its UAE blog (ae.playstation.com).

The phased restoration will be on a country by country basis beginning in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, it said in a statement.

Sony’s PlayStation Network service was shut down almost a month ago due to a massive security breach affecting over 100 million online accounts.

“As the result of a criminal cyber attack on the company’s data centre located in San Diego, California, USA, SNEI shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services on 20 April 2011, in order for the company to undergo an investigation and make enhancements to the overall security of the network infrastructure,” the Sony statement said. 

Sony’s PlayStation network is a system that links gamers worldwide in live play. Sony shut it down on April 20 after discovering a hacker attack and said personal data, including credit card numbers, may have been stolen. But the company said Sunday it had not received any reports of the stolen information being used illegally.

Sony Middle East had acknowledged in an earlier statement that credit card details of some 27,000 gamers in the region may have been breached during the global hack last month. The network said it has over 1 million accounts in the region, led by 650,000 in Saudi Arabia and 250,000 in the UAE.

“Working closely with several respected outside security firms, the company has implemented new and additional security measures that strengthen safeguards against unauthorized activity, and provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information,” today’s Sony statement assured users.

Restored operations are mainly limited to online gaming, chat and music streaming services. Sony said it aimed to fully restore the PlayStation Network by the end of May.

“The restoration of the services across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East are beginning, and consumers will be able to enjoy some of the online functionality provided by both the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. The company expects to have the services fully restored by the end of May 2011,” the statement noted.

The company will be offering customers a ‘Welcome Back’ package of services and premium content to all registered PlayStation Network and Qriocity account services, alerting users that they would “need to update your PlayStation Network account password before you can start using PSN again”.

Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation, offered users his “sincere regret for the inconvenience” caused by “this incident” and said the company was “taking aggressive action at all levels to address the concerns that were raised by this incident, and are making consumer data protection a full time, company-wide commitment.”

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