Even Once the PlayStation Network is Back, This Thing is Far From Over

By  |  Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 9:24 am

[UPDATE: The news got way worse after I wrote this.]

I’m not a PlayStation Network member, or much of a gamer at all. But I’m kind of fascinated by Internet outages–and the one currently affecting Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity service is one for the record books. In fact, it may be the worst one of all time, if you multiply the number of people impacted by the hours of the outage. And it continues on, with no evidence that it’s going to end soon. (Sony, which blithely said it might last for a day or two at first, is no longer making any predictions.)

[UPDATE: Some commenters have rightly reminded me of the two-week Xbox Live outage back in 2008–a less interesting, but lengthier (so far!) service interruption.)

A very basic timeline of events to date:

  • In January, Sony sued jailbreaking guru George Hotz and others over a PlayStation jailbreak that permitted the installation of unapproved apps.
  • On April 4th, the online shadow army known as “Anonymous,” upset over Sony’s lawsuit against PlayStation hacker George Hotz, managed to use denial-of-service attracks to take down PlayStation.com.
  • On April 11th, Sony settled with Hotz.
  • On Wednesday of last week, Sony’s PlayStation Blog said that the company was aware “certain functions” of the PlayStation Network were down.
  • On Thursday, it said that it might be “a full day or two” before things got back to normal.
  • On Friday, it said that an “external intrusion” had impacted PSN and Qriocity services, and that it had shut them off until it could ensure “smooth and secure” operation.
  • Also on Friday, Anonymous denied that it had caused the outage.
  • On Saturday, it said that it was undertaking a “time-consuming” rebuilding of its network infrastructure.
  • On Monday, it said that it was working to restore the services “quickly,” but had no information about how long it would be until they returned.
  • Today’s Tuesday, so if the outage persists for another day, it’ll have gone on for a week. I can’t think of any major Internet service that’s been toast for so long.

Everybody’s entitled to grade Sony’s communications about all this thus far for themselves, but one lesson is obvious: if your service is down, apologize a lot–and don’t make any predictions about when it’ll be back.

Even once PSN is back online, the story isn’t over. Unlike other famous outages–AOL, eBay, Skype–this one is dizzying in its multidimensionality. A few questions I still have:

  • Did the “external intrusion” compromise any of PlayStation Network members’ personal information?
  • Was the “external intrusion” a brilliant attack on a well-protected system, or was the PSN poorly defended until now? (Sony had plenty of warning that its online presence might be subject to attack–in fact, Anonymous said “you should have expected us.“)
  • Will Sony ever explain what happened? (Right now, it’s not even clear how much of the catastrophe is due to the “external intrusion” and how much stems from Sony willfully shutting down the service to in institute new security protections.
  • “External intrusion” sounds illegal. Will we ever learn who was responsible for it, and will that person or persons face legal repercussions?
  • If anyone does get in trouble for this, will it spur continued cyberattacks against Sony?
  • How will Sony accommodate the millions of customers who can’t play networked games or get to Qriocity services? (A pro-rated adjustment to their accounts hardly seems sufficient.)
  • Once normalcy returns, will PSN fans just go back to their gaming, or will the irate gamers who are currently threatening to flee to the Xbox do so?
  • What are the implications for every other large institution on the planet that might tick off “Anonymous” or another group of savvy, pissy geeks? Was PSN uniquely vulnerable, or is this an early battle in an epic war?

Oh, and one other question:

When the heck will PlayStation Network come back online?

 
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52 Comments For This Post

  1. @PARTEE Says:

    Don't forget that Xbox LIVE was down for TWO weeks back in 2008.

  2. Rick Says:

    "that might tick off “Anonymous” or another group of savvy, pissy geeks? " Uh – oh haha

  3. Ryan Patterson Says:

    You say, “a PlayStation jailbreak that permitted the installation of unapproved apps.”

    That is not accurate. The information Hotz posted allowed owners to approve apps to run on their own (bought and paid for) PS3′s. The PS3 was never modified to run unapproved code.

  4. Hatehackers Says:

    Going on a week now and haven’t heard too much from Sony… I know complaining about it won’t get my Ps3 any faster. In a way I kinda hope sony changes the psn to a subscription service… It would get rid of half of the 10 year olds jamming the servers! I also hope they fix the servers for black ops while the psn is down… I went back to modern warfare 2 because I was tired of getting booted due to “connection interruption”. I am loyal to Sony and would move to xbox. For now I guess I’ll play on my kids wii. Mario kart here I come!!! I think all ps3 players feel like Tom hanks on castaway right about now… All alone on an island…

  5. Enigma Says:

    its as simple as this they have dragged on long enough shuffleing their feet and blameing one person or another we all have spent loads of money on their systems to play them online with out interuption yet they continue to be slackers in that area I for one play black ops alot on the ps3 due to the fact that there was not as much lag as on the 360 also the enviroment though a little hostile at times was better then dealing with a bunch of prepubesent morons on the 360 well I guess that means I will be switching back over to my 360 I have always been an equal gamer I never choose one system or the other both systems have seperate games that you can only get on one system that I liked but I am deffinatly not playing on the psn anymore this is just grade A Bull Sh…. you get my drift

  6. PSN-Lifer Says:

    Definitely not the worst of all time so far. Only 6 days versus Xbox Live going down for 2 weeks back in 2008. Plus, this is free and that was paid for. I don't expect compensation from Sony, nor do I think they should compensate anyone with the exception of pro-rating the PSN Plus people. That's a standard business practice that should be implemented in this case. All these pissy gamers who think they're entitled to compensation simply because they miss their online gaming need to grow up and get realistic. All those pissy gamers threatening to go to Xbox, please go. Expect to purchase a new Xbox at least every other year. Enjoy your new subscription fees. Enjoy all the little kids that comprise the vast majority of the Xbox Live network (they desperately need your adult supervision). And most of all, enjoy a gaming experience that is inferior. Oh yeah, and enjoy Halo. :)

  7. Harry McCracken Says:

    My wording may not be ideal–I mean apps unapproved by Sony–but to be clear, I think that jailbreaking is fine. Even good.

  8. Enigma Says:

    But was ONE OF THE FIRST bold for you that want to misquote what I write, computeing corporations and they are the ONE OF THE ONES that gave birth to the modern technological erra that we so vastly enjoy if it wasnt for Microsoft Playstation, Sony for that matter would not be the company it is today and all that Glorified extras they have added to their system have been truely a downfall everyone knows a car can be beautifull on the outside but everything else under the hood has gone to hell

  9. PSN-Lifer Says:

    What's comical to me about your comment is the same as all the other comments similar to yours. The world thinks that nothing is being done if they don't know what's being done. First, the PlayStation division of Sony is losing money, which is not a goal of any company. Bet your ass they've got upper level management breathing down their necks to get it back up and running. The problem with upper level management is that they don't want the bad things to happen again, so you have to redo it better than it was. So please rest assured that their people are working overtime to get this money making machine back up and running more securely than ever. If it takes time, wait patiently, or hate it quietly. By all means, go play your Xbox, but keep posted because we all know you'll be back on your PS3 as soon as possible. For you to try to say otherwise is just grade A Bull Sh…. you get my drift.

  10. mark Says:

    i just need to play cod so whatever ya doing sony hurry up and do it plzzzzz :)

  11. PSN-Lifer Says:

    What updates? How's your internet connection? My PSN updates typically take less than 20 minutes. This is the first time EVER that I've seen the PSN down for maintenance. Now DCUO, which is a game I enjoy lately, that's different. That's a work in progress, and even those updates typically take less than 6 hours. Sorry, it's a small price to pay to not have to deal with Xbox live kids. :) We both know it.

  12. PSN-Lifer Says:

    Definitely. Also waiting for my people to let me know how they like SOCOM4. Most are getting tired of the single-player mode. :(

  13. EPIC SINEPZz 023 Says:

    I WANT PLAY COD SONY MUST BE FAST OR I GO DEAD PLZZZZZ
    :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

  14. Chandaman Says:

    If your ps3 takes thirty minutes to update and goes down sixty times a year that's a personal problem my playstation takes about 20 seconds to update and anything that is above five minutes I can download in the background. Also my playstation has only been down once and that is this time so in my view you you either broke your ps3 or it came broken and it usually doesn't come broken.

  15. BATUHAN Says:

    PLEAS HURRY SONY I'M GOING DEAD I WANT PLAY COD PLEAS FAST WITH PSN

    I'M WANT PLAY WITH MY FRIENDS AND QUICK SCOPEN WITH MY INTERVISION
    PLZZZZZ BE FAST SONY I HELP I CA'N HACK MABY I CA'N HACK ANONYMO SEND MY
    THE FIELS AND I CA'N HACK THEM OKE SEND THE FIELS PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZ :(

  16. King_Bird Says:

    please one more day talking to the wife and not sprayying from my hind and im gona jump off a bridge

  17. CrissPS3 Says:

    ITS BEEN 6DAYS NOW AND STILL NO C.O.D NO QUICK SCOPING NO OWNING NOOBS ONLINE. WHAT TAKES 6 DAYS TO FIX PSN NETWORK ITS A COMPANY A TEAM WORLDWIDE V.s A GROUP OF Low Life Hackers Yes U Want To Do More With Your PS3 JailBreak And All That But Why Bring PSN Down For Almost A Week C'Mon. – Im A Huge Fan Of PS3 I Wouldnt Trade For A XBox But As A PS3 Owner And PSN User Im Really Dissapointed THIS TIME OUTRAGED 6DAYS REALLY

  18. shannon Says:

    My husband is a member of playstation network. About 2 weeks ago we found out our bank account had all kinds of overdrafts and charges were racked up to $643.00. We now live out of state and have been trying to work everything out over the phone with no luck. He will be making a trip there in 12 days to the bank to figure out what happened and fight this. . then a lighbulb went on today and we started wondering if maybe this is connected to what's going on at playstation and maybe these hackers did get our info. My husband called playstation this morning to let them know what happened. They cut him off real quick and said that they were still investigating the matter and had no answers for us. I think sony found out what was going on and that these hackers got everyones info and that's why they shut everything down. they are trying to figure out what to do and that's why they are being so tight lipped because they don't want there members to panick. There already getting flooded with calls so just imagine if this got out to the public the calls they will be getting.I don't know it's just a thought, something definately stinks here.

  19. Enigma Says:

    its more resturcturing then rebuilding and as to Chandaman comment about what am i smokeing? pallmall full flaver i find it funny then when anyone points out an inherent flaw albiet i will say im being one track minded but face it im frustrated with this as much as the next person but honestly any time anyone says something that makes perfect sense someones gotta retort with what are you smokeing man like your on some drug induced craze…anyways was just my 3 cents worth earlier i do agree with you psn lifer yes i will be most likely back on there for c.o.d just got done with a 30 min session on the 360 and it does reafirm why i moved to the ps3 at least for that game because dealing with snivleing little brats really is an annoyance more so then this fiasco of restructureing their system. However given the amount of money sony has and i am betting the vastly large group of tech's they have it shouldnt take 6 days to completely go through the entire system, I know yes its alot of code and alot of this that and the other that they are doing and going through but they still could get it done far much faster then it already has taken

  20. Enigma Says:

    Shannon I am not trying to be mean or rude in any ways but this is a good example of why you should go to a game store and buy a points card that way your cred info is not on your host profile on your psn. it ammounts to the same money value you just dont have to deal with the outcome of said inherent security breach's

  21. Angry at You Says:

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

    "JAILBREAKING" ANY SYSTEM IS THE SAME AS UNLOCKING A PHONE FROM NETWORK A FOR USE ON NETWORK B AND THOSE PROVIDERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE IN ANY WAY TO ANYONE WHO DOES SO BOTH THROUGH CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR ANY FAULTS AND ANY SERVICE THAT WOULD ORIGINALLY COME WITH THE PRODUCT (PLAYSTATION NETWORK) AND NOW I FEEL THAT THOSE WHO ATTACKED THE SONY MAIN SYSTEMS SHOULD EITHER INFORM THEM OF A FIX BECAUSE BY THEM NOT HAVING THE ABILITY TO FIX IT, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF PEERS WHO WILL WANT TO BRING DOWN YOUR OWN SYSTEMS. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF SOMEONE CAUSED YOUR COMPUTER TO BECOME PUSHED TO THE POINT OF THE CPU BLOWING? AND THOUGH I MYSELF WILL NOT DO ANYTHING OF THAT SORT FOR I AM A LAW ABIDING CITIZEN. HOWEVER, THE SAME CANNOT BE SAID FOR YOU.

    WITH SINCERITY,
    A CUSTOMER WHO IS MAD AT YOU, NOT SONY

  22. Enigma Says:

    Wow so much bold letters my eyes went blurry

  23. Big E Says:

    If one more person says stop complaining cause it's free I think my head will explode. The only reason I bought a PS3 back in January was for DC Universe online (great game by the way) and I have played it almost every day since it's release. Now I pay to play that game as it is a MMO. So with the network down I can't play the game AND I'm losing money that I paid to play it. I understand they need to fix it, and it takes awhilebut c'mon. Are we talking a month, a week, a few days? Just give us some kind of information. I don't even care about the lost money I just think the way they are giving no info is B.S.

  24. Jim Says:

    wow cawlm down, its only a gaming system.

  25. PISSED OF GAMER Says:

    I mean we pay good money for the ps3 conosle and games but yet sony doesnt give us good updates? Its been 6 days going on 7 allmost this is ridiculious that we still havent recieved any information pertaining to are credt/debit card funds or even a time when the PSN will be back? I thought sony was much better then this but in darkness they prove to be failures.

  26. Guest Says:

    Not true that Xbox LIVE was "down for TWO Weeks" in 2008. At worst, you could say it was a slow down caused by unexpected surge of new users. My service was not impacted in anyway whatsoever.

  27. Marie Mincey Says:

    I too have had PSN updates lasting anywhere from 5 min to an hour at least 1-3 times monthly. I am not an avid online gamer. However, I use Netflix quite extensively, which is a service I PAY FOR. Because of this outage, I cannot stream movies, TV shows, concerts, etc, a service in which I am PAYING FOR, due to this outage from obviously lack of adequate security. Therefore, I must wait for DVDs to arrive in the mail and return them, which is about a 2-3 waiting period/process. Therefore, I'm not relieving the service in which I am PAYING FOR. In conclusion, some sort of compensation should not only be worked out between companies that provide the Apps, but also from Sony themselves. Weather it be in a prorated form or credit towards purchasing Apps.

  28. PS3 USER Says:

    People dont blame sony for all this. its not their falts. and dont buy an Xbox. thats the worst thing to happen in this situation. i think if we all remain calm ENJOY our lifes. this situation will resolve. but this is tempting to say but…. i just got Mortal Kombat and its allright good story and other things to enjoy but im pissed off cause i cant try online…. its just sitting on the screen every time i am in the menu but we can wait it out irs only been 6 days we can live through it. and for the record XBOX was out for 2 weeks back in 08 so ya go F*** OFF.

  29. WOFFFF Says:

    Marie, your Netflix still works….when prompted to sign in …do it…..then press "0" to back out,…it may take a few prompts to get in but you will get in……good luck.

  30. WOFFFF Says:

    …Dude , you must be one of those "LAGGERS" on Uncharted 2……pay for a faster internet connection…..lol

  31. WOFFFF Says:

    ……whooooa……slow the racism down , just a bit…….I believe the proper racist remark is "Squinty little eyed zipperheads"…….unless someone else has 1 better….lol

  32. WOFFFF Says:

    Actually…..it is PSN's fault…….arrogance is a deadly sin. ………I too am affected with having no one to plunder with…….for I am the WOFFFF ,……and killing "LIVINDIEBASEBALL" is my daily fun thing………WOFF CLAN RULES !!!!!

  33. Nobody Says:

    Your paying for Netflix not PSN…hello and I can still use Netflix must be user error!

  34. GeoCoals Says:

    MOst companies dont prosecute people that do this sort of thing. They play the patch game just like everyone else. Not Sony though.

    Is it cool for Chevrolet to come to my house, freeze my assets, seize my car and sue me because I sinstalled a set of headers or K&N air filter?

  35. GeoCoals Says:

    Oh and waiting 6 days to inform your customers all of their personal information and credit card numbers have been stolen is pure incompetence.

    Sony definetly has their customers best interests in mind.

  36. Meeno Says:

    You are such an easy going fanboy.

  37. WOFFFF Says:

    I wish we did not need Sony for a lobby to play in……I wish I had choices for "MY" system.

  38. ???? Says:

    Guys give sony a break pleasee come on it been 6 days so just calm down.GO GET SOME SUN!!i know ps3 if fun,but once in a while..sony is undergoing so much stress right now u dont even know!not to mention all the money they must also pay to have all of this perfect for loyal ps3 users.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    We are Anonymous.
    For the past week people have been questioning us. Well we question you. Why do you think your so clever ratting out this group.
    We are Anonymous.
    We don’t forgive.
    We don’t forget.
    We are legion

  40. PSN user Says:

    hmm..come to think about it long long time ago a guy sent me a message saying " give me ur acc and info and i will jailbreak the ps3" and i delt the message but seriously something fishy was gonna happen and now this wow…

  41. XBOX RULES Says:

    to all you sony dummies. Xbox was off line for 2 weeks but we didnt have the system and bank details hacked. Ha losers Smoke me

  42. XBOX RULES Says:

    Im just playing black ops online

  43. ps3 kid Says:

    I just want to get back to my mw2 and use my ninja class

  44. WOFFFF Says:

    I am not entirely convinced of Sony's actions is for the best. they really do abuse their customers and when they get the public back-lash for it……they offer cheap bribes !!!…..hmmm

  45. Aaron Says:

    easy conclusion, xbox was jelous that psn was better so they hacked psn's network causing massive damage

  46. LORDxROME 216 Says:

    ps3 lags i own a 360 as well and by far the 360 is the superior console i have black ops on both and gaming is twice as fun on the 360 and im no kid……lets not metion that the connectivity of ps3 is garbage and ps3 dashboard is kiddie like compared to 360 and u pay this amount for a ps3 that comes with no headset and half the features that are on 360 like voice chat messaging ,etc..ps3 doesent have and are working on getting those features lets face it ps3 is boarder line caveman compared to the tech of 360……360 forever……

  47. Enigma Says:

    Well I do hate to do a victory dance but everyone was quite sure that this wouldnt be a 2 week outage like with x-box 360…And here I am sitting writeing this right now and oh yeah 3 days from now it will offically be 2 weeks and oh i forgot they still wont have everything up and running LOL man PSN really does try to out perform all other competitors even in their downtime LOL well I guess my inital statments were true bahahahah and you all were quite adiment to judge me for my words before well guess who got the last laugh on this one

  48. Enigma Says:

    though i will still play C.O.D on the ps3 as that the gameing enviroment is far better

  49. piperstar Says:

    go jogging!!! get some blood flow through those legs!! quit bichin about the time it takes to update and maintain, and get active.

  50. WOFFFF Says:

    They can't….or won't hack Xbox, their system is to strong , being that the sponsor is Microsoft. I am a PSN…..DAMMIT ….I…AM ….A…. PSN !!!!…….come on Sony—-let's do this thing……too long on my ADD & OCD is reaking HAVOC in my community—–cars are crashing, bldg's on fire, children hungry……this is what it has come to !!!!…..for I am the WOFFFF……I am PSN

  51. Enigma Says:

    well again now it has been 2 weeks and 2 days still no psn not surprised officially playstation needs to stop pointing fingers and get their ass's in gear so far they havent they keep saying it will be up in a day it will be up in a day you do realize you tell someone that line over 6 times and we realize your just throwing mud in our eyes right?

  52. WOFFFF Says:

    Xbox and monthly charges here I come…….Sony is down for 6 months now…..WTF