THE END OF A BAD PATCH for Sony seems to be in sight, as it plans to bring the final parts of its Playstation Network and Qriocity services back online this week.
Hackers attacked Sony's networks more than two months ago and the company was forced to take them offline in one of the world's most costly hacking incidents.
Sony revealed that it will restore the last pieces of its Playstation Network and Qriocity services in Japan on Wednesday, 6 July, marking the final restoration in a long and painful process.
Some Japanese services were restored as early as 28 May, but in the end Japan was last to get the full networks back up and running. The US and Europe came back online on 2 June. Hong Kong services were restored on 14 June, with South Korea following suit on 24 June.
The services that Sony will restore include the full functionality of the Platstation Store, restoration of in-game commerce, the ability to redeem vouchers and codes, and the video on demand and Media Go functionalities.
Sony will be offering a "welcome back", or "sorry we screwed up so bad" package for returning customers. This will include between 30 and 60 days free subscriptions and two free game titles from a somewhat limited selection, which some customers haven't found all that appealing.
Sony claims the restored services include "new and additional security measures", which might or might not reassure customers who want to start using Sony networks again. It's not clear what kind of security this involves, but we can only imagine that the duration of the downtime, which is now over two months for some customers, means that Sony has been investing heavily to protect its systems from future attacks.
Providing there are no setbacks to the networks restoration on Wednesday, this will bring to a close a very bad period for Sony. The initial attacks began in late April, resulting in millions of users' account details being stolen. Sony was forced to take its service offline to investigate the attacks and rebuild the networks' internal security.
Sony claimed it was only attacked because it tried to protect its intellectual property, referring to the lawsuit it launched against Playstation 3 hacker George Hotz.
The attacks resulted in substantial losses for the company, with Sony having claimed it lost around $171m. Analysts at the Ponemon Institute suggested that the total cost of the hacks could be upwards of $25bn, but this appears to be a greatly exaggerated figure in comparison to Sony's own estimates.
Either way, the company has lost a lot of money and a lot of customers, and it has suffered a major blow to its reputation that won't soon be forgotten. µ
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