The 44 Days That Cost Sony $171 Million
The troubles caused by the April 20 hack into Sony's PlayStation Network seemed like they would never end. The company handled things awkwardly from the start, shutting off the network when it realized it had been hacked, but not making the breach public until April 22. After that, a long series of false starts and a few insinuations as to the culprit preceded the partial restoration of the gaming network almost a month later. Since then, Sony has struggled to get the service fully restored, but that's what it says it finally accomplished today. "Full restoration means players can use credit cards to buy games, music and get at other digital downloads," The BBC reported. Here's a timeline of key events in the saga that cost the entrtainment company an estimated $171 million.
April 20: Sony first shuts down the PlayStation Network, warning on its blog that "it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running."
April 22: Sony admits on its blog that an "external intrusion" had taken place, and it had turned off the service. Suspicion falls on hacking collective Anonymous, which issues a formal denial on its Web site. But on the Anonymous Facebook page, comments seem to indicate some amount of investment in the debacle.
April 26: The news breaks that the PlayStation hack involves some 70 million subscribers worldwide, and has exposed their user data and possibly their credit card information. At the same time, Sony admits on its blog that the breach had happened sometime between April 17 and 19, not April 20, as had been reported earlier.
April 28: The first lawsuit, a class action, is filed against Sony for failing to "maintain adequate computer data security of consumer personal data and financial data, including, but not limited to credit card data."
May 4: Sony suggests, in a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, that Anonymous was involved in its data breach. "We discovered that the intruders had planted a file on one of our Sony Online Entertainment servers named “Anonymous” with the words “We are Legion,” it wrote in the letter, which it posted to its blog. Anonymous continues to deny any involvement in the hack.
May 6: Sony CEO Howard Stringer offers users a $1 million identity theft insurance policy, as well as a "welcome back" package that includes a month of free service. Meanwhile, Anonymous "veterans" tell the Financial Times that someone from the group was involved in the breach, after all.
May 14: Sony begins bringing the PlayStation Network back online, on a region-by-region basis. But the network falters and blacks out again thanks to a rush of users going to change their passwords. Japan, where Sony is based, refuses to allow the network to go back online because it says Sony hadn't adhered to its own operational promises. Some services, though, like the PlayStation Store, remain offline.
May 16: Sony debuts a welcome-back package that includes two free games, free movies, and service extensions.
May 24: More hacks, though on a smaller scale than the one that shut down the network, continue to plague Sony. From May 20 to May 24, the company's various online services were hacked five different times.
May 27: Sony agrees to testify in a House privacy hearing today, after previously refusing to do so. The company had earlier said it wanted to complete its own internal investigation first.
June 2: Sony finally announces that all services, in all regions have been restored, including the PlayStation Store and Qrocity music and movie service.