PlayStation Network: Safer Than Ever

May 5, 2011 Written by Anthony Severino

If you’re a PlayStation Network user, then you’re well aware of what’s been going on over the past two weeks. Between Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, and Sony Online Entertainment’s MMO accounts, over 100 million accounts have been breached by hackers. Personal information and credit card data is now sitting in the hands of some criminal(s).

Consumers are afraid to entrust Sony with their financial information. Developers are losing money, and worse yet, faith in the PlayStation Network as a digital infrastructure. Governments are stepping in, calling for answers. This all could end up costing Sony upwards of $24 billion when the dust settles.

So how is it that the PlayStation Network is now safer than ever?

Ok, ok, ok… maybe it’s not safer just yet. Well, it is, because it’s still down. But when it returns, it’ll be one of the safest services around. Why? Because Sony could never afford for this to happen again. Not only for the financial ruin that it would cause, but that would be the end in terms of consumer trust.

The PlayStation Network is a lucrative service for Sony, and for the developers that support it, raking in an estimated $500 million annually. It has also been built as a supporting brand to all of Sony’s PlayStation products. Even further reaching yet, Qriocity is tied into the PlayStation Network, which is featured on Sony’s Bravia HDTVs and other devices, even their upcoming S1 and S2 Android Tablets.

With the way online gaming has become such a focus with today’s games and communities, the PlayStation Network needs to be secure and steady. This down time has likely cause many loyal users to pick up an Xbox 360, which further cuts into Sony’s profit margins.

Sony is actively increasing security measures and investigating how this attack happened, so that it may be prevented in the future. Sony is working with Data Forte, a privately held firm led by special agent with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who is working in tandem with the FBI. Additionally, Sony has contracted cyber-sleuths Guidance Software, a “world leader in digital forensics and cyber security”, along with internal auditing firm Protiviti.

Sony also has a responsibility to investors. SNE shares dropped when the attacks were first announced. When Sony held the press conference a few nights ago, they bounced back a bit. Markets are more fickle than ever in this dwindling economy, and Sony can’t afford any cause for unrest with shareholders.

The government in a number of countries where users were affected have stepped in, demanding answers from Sony. They’ll be stepping in, likely keeping an ever-watchful eye on Sony’s operations for the foreseeable future. The United States Congress requested Sony’s official response on a few items, that clarify some of what Sony plans to do to keep users safe, making the PlayStation Network safer than ever.

Sony has pledged to make protecting user’s personal data of the highest priority, and has taken measures to prevent similar situations from happening in the future. Sony has revealed that they’re enhancing data encryption, improving their ability to detect intrusion, establishing a new data center in an undisclosed location that’s dedicated to security, and appointing a new Chief Information Security Officer.

No one, not even Sony, could deny that this was a major fiasco, and Sony’s security process was to blame. However, moving forward, Sony will be significantly more aware of security, and all of the new protective measures combined will make the PlayStation Network one of the safest services available.

[Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]