sony Archive


Sony Confirms Massive PlayStation Network Breach – What You Should Know

Originally posted on Lalawag

Sony just confirmed on its PlayStation Blog the worst case scenario for its recent PlayStation Network downtime/security breach – massive amounts of customer personal data was compromised by hackers. There are over 70 million PSN accounts currently. This is a security breach of disastrous proportions.

From Sony’s PSN Outage FAQ:

Q.6     Does that mean all users’ information was compromised?  Tell us more in details of what personal information leaked.

In terms of possibility, yes.  We believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state/province, zip or postal code), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password, login, password security answers, and handle/PSN online ID.  It is also possible that your profile data may have been obtained, including purchase history and billing address (city, state/province, zip or postal code).  If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, it is possible that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may also have been obtained.

That, my friends, is quite a Happy Meal of personal data that is out in the hands of someone “unauthorized.” Not only do they have your contact information and birthdate, but they have your friggin’ password and password security answers! Does this mean that Sony stupidly stored your passwords in plaintext somewhere? How dumb/cheap/lazy must your company be to store 70 million passwords in plaintext?

If the hackers had just gotten access to password hashes, I would have expected Sony would have mentioned that in order to allay some fears. Nowhere in Sony’s statement does it leave the possibility for password data to not have been compromised which leads many people to suspect gross negligence on Sony’s part. What else would you expect from a company that announces new Playstation/Qrocity branded tablets on the same day that it reports one of the worst breaches of consumer personal data in history?

There is some good news, though, as Sony did confirm that Steam account information was not compromised during the hack. Last week, PS3 players could link Portal 2 to their Steam account to gain access to extra features prior to the PSN going down. I was one of those players, but you can bet your sweet ass that I changed my Steam password ASAP. I suggest you do the same.

Hopefully the leaked information isn’t used maliciously, but obviously you can’t count on that so here’s what you can do right now to deal with Sony’s giant fuckup:

  • Change any passwords to your accounts that are similar to your PSN password.
  • Double check your credit card activity to make sure that nothing out of the ordinary is going on.
  • Be extra careful clicking links in emails – the most likely outcome of all this personal information getting out there is an increased amount of phishing attacks on unsuspecting people.
  • When the PSN comes back up, change your password.

It’s pretty much all you can do at this moment in time other than pray no one messes with your information. Yes, it’s a big pain in the ass, but it’s better to do this now than have to deal with getting your identity back or dealing with credit card fraud.

We can all thank Sony for being inept in network building and security for that inconvenience. For all Sony’s posturing on how the PSN was “free” compared to Microsoft’s Xbox Live, you can bet your ass that Microsoft is having a laugh at Sony’s expense right now.

We’re not even close to looking at the long term fallout of this disaster yet, but you can probably look forward to getting some more compensation in the inevitable class action suit. Time will tell just how big of a hit Sony is going to take in consumers’ eyes for future console and online content sales.

Oh, and for anyone who still cares, Sony hopes to have the PSN back up “within a week.” At this point, the last thing I’m sure people want to do is play their tainted video game consoles.


Sony Draws The Ire Of Anonymous

Ohhhhh shit. If it’s one thing you don’t want on the internet it’s the scorn of internet hacker group Anonymous. Previously responsible for taking down Mastercard/Visa websites in defense of Wikileaks as well as the Church of Scientology, Anonymous is a loosely organized group of individuals dispensing online justice as they see fit.

A couple days ago they issued this video statement stating their intent to fight Sony for suing PS3 hacker, Geohot:

I particularly liked this line: “You saw the hive, and you stuck your penis in it.” As a large multinational corporation, i’m sure Sony sticks its penis in lots of hives.

But some people in Anonymous were not satisfied with merely taking down and the Playstation Store via DDoS attacks. They’ve decided to take vengeance to the next level by obtaining personal records of Sony employees and family members:

Sebastian Moss for PlaystationLifestyle:

For example, Robert S. Wiesenthal, Group Executive, Sony Corporation, leading Corporate Development and Mergers and Acquisitions at Sony headquarters’ family history is currently being released onto the internet. His marital status, age, place of address, education and even whether he has children has been discovered. Other main targets include Nicole Seligman and Sony boss Howard Stringer, but multiple Sony employee emails are noted as future targets. In fact, one anon complained “No one found ANY info on Stringers kids?”

Meanwhile, both OpSony and SonyRecon have targeted those involved in the actual lawsuit against Geohot, with members of OpSony singling out the judge of the case.

SonyRecon founder randomtask stated:

sony , the judge and sonys lawyers are all valid targets

I’m not so sure going after individuals and their families is the best way of advancing your agenda, but it’s certainly some frightening shit. Imagine if you were an innocent Sony employee caught in the crossfire of this “war.” The amount of harm that could befall someone by releasing their personal information online is staggering. Hopefully the damage will be limited to juvenile pizza pranks and fake craigslist ads and not something more sinister.

Kinda makes you reflect just how helpless you can be on the internet, doesn’t it?

via PlayStation LifeStyle.


Sony NGP (PSP2) Announcement Reaction, (Or How I Got A Nerd Boner Last Night)

Originally published on Lalawag

Last night during their Playstation Meeting 2011 event in Tokyo, Sony announced their next portable gaming device, the PSP2 “Next Generation Portable” (NGP).

This baby’s got almost every gaming and technological innovation from the past 5 years, including dual touchpads, dual analog sticks, dual cameras, six-axis motion sensing, a high resolution OLED display, 3G and WiFi connectivity, and heck why not throw in that built in GPS. There’s a laundry list of features so we’re going to windmill slam that spec sheet right in front of you here:

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Sony’s NGP (PSP2) Press Event

Hideo envisions using the exact same game on the PS3 and the NGP. You play the game on your PS3 at home, and out and about you play the same game and same save on your NGP. A beautiful dream, indeed. “This dream is going to come true in the near future, and right now I’m working on this project. I’m sorry right now I can’t disclose further information, but I’d like to present what we’re doing at E3.”

I think I just soiled myself with delight. That would be so goddamn cool.

Read: Live from Sony’s Tokyo event — Engadget.


Insomniac Games Goes Multiplatform, Signs With EA Partners


This news pretty much blindsided me this morning.  I (like many others) assumed that Insomniac (Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, inFamous) was wholly owned by Sony.  The deal is only for one game, but I’m pretty sure when it succeeds, they’ll continue making more of them for everyone.

Could the platform exclusive title be an endangered species?  Bungie’s (Halo) liberation to Activision and the land of multi-platform releases last month certainly raises some eyebrows.  Developers want to own their IPs now and who blames them?  Wouldn’t you want to get in on movie-licensing and branded Mountain Dew flavor money?  Like in the music industry, once you establish yourself as a bonafied rock star, your dependence on the record labels shrinks to just product manufacturing/distribution.

Personally, I’ve never had a problem with not being able to play a title due to the consoles I’ve owned since I own them all.  However, I imagine most people have picked only one of the 360 or PS3.  There’s a lot of quality titles that you’re missing out on if this is the case.  Having our rockstar titles available on both platforms serves to only benefit the end user.  After all, nothing kills a recent video game conversation more than “Have you played God of War 3 yet?” “No, I only have a 360. ” =(

Joystiq’s got an interview with Insomniac’s CEO, Ted Price, if you want to read more.


PSP Go? More Like PSP No, Amirite?

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m a gadget freak. My friends know this. My colleagues know this. I know this.  For example, I am one of the assholes who has bought all three Nintendo DS SKU’s on consecutive launch dates.  That’s right, despite owning perfectly functional DS phat and lites, I’ve also managed to also buy a DSi.

Knowing my weakness for cool new revisions of handhelds, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that Sony has accomplished something extraordinary with their recently released PSP Go.  They have, in fact, created a product that I have no desire to purchase.

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The Apocalypse Is Nigh

Wired’s Listening Post has an excellent bullet point interview with Sony BMG executive, Thomas Hesse, about the current state of the music industry and what the future holds. Surprisingly, Hesse has some genuinely insightful thoughts on the state of the industry.

Here are some highlights:

  • Connected CDs are going to be a huge thing. Half of people put CDs in their computers, mostly for ripping, which is great, because they purchased the music legally. At that time, there’s a chance to connect with the user, sell more music, merchandise, etc. There are both promotional and upsell opportunities there.
  • The biggest opportunity we have is to create an access model for the consumer where the consumer can consume music in a virtually limitless way by purchasing some kind of subscription or device that comes with access to the music. Those are the most exciting, and are gaining traction. Various models are being debated right now. The mobile phone will play a critical role, and the device will play critical role.
  • There are so many options for consumers. We must be bold enough to throw out some of old models.

I gotta admit, the last place I expected to hear some rational, well-thought out analyses on the music industry’s current plight was from a Sony BMG executive. Mr. Hesse has managed to make me start to take the major labels seriously again. I don’t agree with everything he says in the interview, but he has enough good points that he has my respect.

Read the rest of Hesse’s interview []


Ding Dong DRM Is Dead – Sony/BMG Joins Amazon MP3

Just one year ago, we in the industry thought it unfathomable for even one of major labels to abandon DRM for digital downloads of music. Yet here we are, living in a world where all four major labels are now selling their wares sans DRM.A press release went out today confirming that Sony/BMG would be making their catalog available for sale on Amazon MP3 by the end of the month.Am I surprised at the celerity of the major labels in making the move to DRMless MP3? A little. I’ve always maintained it was a merely matter of time before the labels ditched DRM. If it was not to accede to consumer demand, it would be to fight the Frankenstein they created in the iTunes music store.

Do I think Amazon MP3 has what it takes to take on iTunes? Sure. Amazon MP3 sells the better product to more possible customers at a better price ($0.89-$0.99 compared to the $1.29 of iTunes Plus). As long as consumers are educated properly and the service is marketed competently, there’s a very good chance this may be the one challenger to the iTunes throne to succeed.

But does this really matter at the end of the day?


The future of music distribution is not in a la carte track sales. It’s in the pay-what-you-want model that Radiohead and Trent Reznor have pioneered. It’s in the value proposition that eMusic offers when you are getting $25 tracks for $9.99 a month. Neither of these are the ultimate solution, but they are steps forward. You have to look at how MOST people are consuming music nowadays. They do it via bulk through bittorrent or eDonkey or what have you. Selling DRM-free MP3’s for $0.89 each would have been a good start… seven years ago. In order to be the true winner of this sad drama, you have to be looking ahead of current consumption patterns. You need to take chances instead of playing catchup.

We’ve got a long way to go before this is finished.

Read the press release []


Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Demo Impressions

Sony has done a lot to piss gamers off since the Playstation 3’s launch, but they seem to finally be getting their act together by concentrating on fixing the biggest problem – the lack of good fucking games to play. Since waking up at 6am to fight the holiday shopping crowds for a Playstation 3 last December, I’ve used my PS3 very little. There’s a layer of dust over the system that I could draw pictures on with my finger. That’s changed the last month, though, with the release of Ratchet and Clank Future Tools of Destruction and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

Uncharted has been on and off of my gaming radar over the past year or so. I first saw a trailer of the game late 2006. The graphics looked pretty impressive, but I had no idea what the game played like. Other people were immediately slapping “game of the year” and “Sony’s best first-party title” labels on it. Shills they may be, but the hype at least piqued my interest in the game.

Fast-forward one year later and I still had no idea what the game was like. Reading the interweb only gave me the impression that the game was “Tomb Raider, but with a dude instead of Lara’s tits”. Fortunately, the 1200MB demo hit the Playstation Network earlier today, allowing me to finally see if this game was worthy of the hype.

The short answer is yes.

I’ve had a chance to go through the demo a few times and have been quite impressed. The game combines tight, responsive controls with gorgeous graphics, realistic human animations, and challenging (but winnable) combat to create one of the best games I’ve played this year. A simple way to describe the gist of the game would be to say that it’s an amalgamation of Gears of War, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. If the full game delivers on the puzzle solving element and continues the solid combat and platforming from the demo, I’ll be ready to proclaim it the best title on the Playstation 3 thus far and the best reason to finally take the PS3 plunge.

Read my detailed impressions after the jump

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