About two weeks ago, Sony abruptly shut down the online services that make up both Playstation Network and Qriocity (which gets my vote for dumbest service name) services. For days, they let everyone speculate on what was going on, even going so far as to post a message saying the services were undergoing maintenance. Then, they released a statement saying the network was shut down due to a security breach. 77 million user’s had their personal information compromised, including an unknown number of credit card user’s.
Now, today, comes word that some 25 million Sony Online Entertainment user’s have also been compromised and that service has now been shut down.
Sony apologized, yesterday, for the breach and the loss of service to it’s user’s. They also offered tokens such as a free download of something to be determined and other minor little trinkets, none of which will make up for the inconvenience and mistrust that Sony has now acquired from it’s users. Oh, there will be the die hards who will give them a pass, much like Apple fan kiddies, but for most, this is probably the last straw.
Yes, we are talking video games and music. But, consider this: most PS3 games are $40 to $70. Many of them are only playable online. So, how would YOU feel if you bought something, only to find you must wait until the company you got the item from allowed you to use it. That Sony knew of the problem (apparently, they were informed by several that this hole in the network existed, I have no evidence, however, that this is true) and did nothing until it was too late is inexcusable.
The breach underlines the notion that you should absolutely use a disposable credit card, gift cards or those silly points and NOT your ‘good’ cards.
Sony’s handling of this issue has been less than stellar as well. The length of time it took them to acknowledge the breach is unforgivable, the decision to cripple the PS3 by disabling the online play is more than just an inconvenience. It is a disaster for them. I wonder just what they are not telling us. I also wonder how many XBox 360’s will be bought by former PS3 owners. I have already traded several PS3 titles for XBox equivalents. When the service returns, I am removing my info and will no longer purchase PS3 games or Sony products. I’m keeping the console for the Blu-Ray ability, but will not be purchasing new games.
This event not only underlines the value of privacy, but it underscores the weakness of cloud based services—of which Amazon has first hand knowledge with its own service interruption.
I have no doubt that the day of the always connected, cloud based world will come about, but this event proves that we need to be prepared first. Or, at least, we need to lock the doors to make it a bit more difficult for the intruders.
Go buy your XBox 360 now.