PSN outage enters seventh day as information 'compromised'

[UPDATE] Sony's online service continues to be down following last week's "external intrusion"; company admits user info may have been obtained by outside party; some services should be restored within a week; US Senator weighs in.

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[UPDATE] It looks like the long week without the PlayStation Network is about to get a whole lot longer. Sony has now confirmed that PSN users' information may have indeed been compromised by the external attack which started last Wednesday.

"We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network," a Sony spokesperson confirmed on the company's official blog.

As for what that means to PSN and Qriocity users, Sony said that "an unauthorized person" has gained access to such identifying information as registrants "name, address (city, state, zip), country, e-mail address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID." Sony recently told a group of investors that the PSN currently has some 75 million registered users.

According to the publisher, it is also possible that the intruder gleaned certain profile data, including "purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers."

Luckily there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel, with Sony saying, "We have a clear path to have PlayStation Network and Qriocity systems back online, and expect to restore some services within a week."

The original story is below. [END UPDATE]

It's been a long week for PlayStation Network users. Starting last Wednesday evening, Sony took down the service with little explanation, leading some to believe that the hacker collective known as Anonymous had resumed its attacks on the network. However, two days later, the leaderless body announced it was not behind the outage--the day before Sony finally admitted an "external intrusion" was to blame.

The PlayStation Network has now been down for nearly a week.
The PlayStation Network has now been down for nearly a week.

Yesterday, Sony offered a brief comment on the PSN outage, saying rebuilding the PSN infrastructure was "time intensive" and that it didn't have any time frame for a possible fix. Today, the company had not offered an update on the situation and requests for comment had not elicited a response as of press time.

Meanwhile, the lack of information has caused a stir amongst PSN users. Yesterday, a Sony spokesperson said that the company had "not yet determined" if credit card information stored on the network had been compromised. The day also brought an unconfirmed rumor that the real reason for the outage was that a version of custom PlayStation 3 firmware was allowing users to download PlayStation Store content for free by imitating a debug unit.

[UPDATE 2] Meanwhile, the PSN outage is beginning to draw attention from the highest levels of the US government. In a letter to Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton, US Senator Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has called on Sony to offer full disclosure to PSN users if their information was compromised, and to offer two years of free access to credit reporting services to check if their credit was adversely affected. "Affected individuals should also be provided with sufficient insurance to protect them from the possible financial consequences of identity theft," Blumenthal said.

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