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Sony brings PlayStation Network back online

Plugged In

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Kazuo Hirai, Representative Corporate Executive Officer - Sony

After being down for some 24 days, the PlayStation Network began welcoming players back to the game over the weekend.

Sony released a mandatory system software update Saturday night, adding new layers of security and forcing users to change their
passwords after suffering one of the largest security breaches on record. Users are once again able to play multiplayer games, access their friends lists and use third-party services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Service for Sony Online Entertainment, which includes online
worlds like DC Universe Online, EverQuest II and Free Realms, has also been
restored.

"I'd like to send my sincere regret for the inconvenience this
incident has caused you, and want to thank you all for the kind patience you've
shown as we worked through the restoration process," said Kazuo Hirai,
Sony' executive deputy president in a statement.  "We know even the
most loyal customers have been frustrated by this process and are anxious to
use their Sony products and services again. We are taking aggressive action at
all levels to address the concerns that were raised by this incident, and are
making consumer data protection a full-time, company wide commitment."

The relaunch of the PSN is occurring in phases, and several
elements - such as the PSN store - are still down, meaning independent
developers who rely on the system for revenue will have to continue to sit on
the sidelines.

While some gamers were happy to see the network restored,
the process hasn't been a particularly smooth one. The flood of people
attempting to change their passwords at a single time overwhelmed the Sony
servers, forcing the company to turn the servers off for a short period to
clear the queue.

Gamers across Europe also saw service restored - but in Sony
home country of Japan, the PSN is still switched off, as Japanese officials will not allow the company to relaunch the system due to security concerns.

"As of May 13, Sony was incomplete in exercising measures that they said they will
do on the May 1 press conference," Kazushige Nobutani, Japan's director of media and content in the country's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry told Dow Jones.

Hackers stole personal information from over 100 million user accounts in the system breach. To date, there have been no arrests and Sony says it has not yet identified who it believes to be responsible, though it has pointed a finger at the decentralized group Anonymous a few times.

The company says details of the 'Welcome Back' program for users will be announced in the coming days. It also noted that while it felt the pressure to get the system back up and running, it resisted rushing its efforts so it could ensure there were no additional attacks.

"We felt that we owed it you to fully verify the security of the networks before restoring our services," said Hirai.

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