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PlayStation Network service spreads: UK, Middle East, more

It’s not just North America getting some PlayStation Network and Qriocity service this weekend. Sony has taken to Twitter to confirm that phase one of the restoration is now rolling out in the UK, Ireland and the Middle East, as the company brings the reinforced servers back online.

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Sony’s Next PSN Challenge: Restoring Reputation

After weeks of downtime, governmental scrutiny and untold user fury, Sony has finally begun to restore PlayStation Network and Qriocity streaming media services. It’s not been an easy journey, either: it wasn’t just server failure that took the PSN offline, but a security breach that saw millions of consumer records snatched out from under Sony’s nose. With only the slightest publicly-released information to go on, systems experts have looked on in horror as Sony took a forced deep-dive through server strata, uncovering the flaws – in its data centers and its ego – that allowed the hack to take place. Still, Sony may find that restoring the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services were the easy part – rebuilding its ailing reputation may be far trickier.

Sony started slow with its apologies and its explanations, letting users stew as they waited for the bad news to unfold. While the company insists that it only reached the realization that credit card information had been lost a week or so into the downtime, gamer consensus seems to be that they’d rather have had an earlier – if tentative – warning than feel like the people paying the fees were the last to know. Read the rest of this entry

It’s Official: Xbox 360 Is the Best Console of This Generation

In the video game industry, there have always been debates among gamers over which company delivered the best hardware on the market. Years ago, that debate raged on between Sega and Nintendo fans. After Sega was knocked out of the market, the attention shifted to Nintendo and Sony.

Nowadays, we have our work cut out for us. We need to decide which console — the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, or Microsoft Xbox 360 — is the best of this generation.

There are some who have supported Nintendo over the years that can point to several reasons their favored company should take that prize. They say that the Wii delivered a new style of gaming and changed the industry forever. Read the rest of this entry

PlayStation Network is back online [Video]

Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation Network is coming back online, with a mandatory system software update (v3.61) for PS3 consoles before they can rejoin the PSN. The phased update has now spread across North American and Europe, though there may be some delay as servers repopulate. Plus, Sony’s Kazuo Hirai has shared a video message about the restoration, which you can see after the cut.

The first phase includes sign-in to PSN and Qriocity, online gaming across PS3 and PSP, Netflix and Hulu streaming, chat functionality and PlayStation Home, including other elements. Logging in on your PS3 will present users with a mandatory password change, and there will be limits in future as to which device you can change your password again.

“If using a PS3, your password can only be changed on your own PS3 (or a PS3 on which your PSN account was activated), as an added layer of security. If you have never downloaded any content using your account on the system, an email will be sent to the registered sign-in ID (email address) associated with your account when you first attempt to sign-in to PSN. This e-mail will contain a link that will enable you to change your password. In this email, click on the link and follow the instructions to change your password. Once you have changed your password you can sign-in to your account using your new password”

“We recognize that actions speak louder than words” Hirai admits, going on to detail Sony’s changes to the security systems compromised. Users already know they will get free access to identity protection tools.

Sony moving PSN data center in hack response

Sony still refuses to detail the exact exploit used to hack the PlayStation Network and its Qriocitystreaming service, but has admitted that as well as updating the software security of the network, it is physically “moving our network infrastructure and data center to a new, more secure location.” The changes are part of a number of steps Sony has been forced to take after reportedly pulling down the PSN after rampant piracy took hold.

According to reports earlier this week, a custom PS3 firmware allowed hackers to unofficially gain access to the PlayStation Network developer channels. There, they were supposedly able to use false – and unchecked – credit card details to make purchases. Sony’s only recourse, it was suggested, was shutting down PSN access altogether.

In a new Q&A – which overlaps considerably with Sony’s previous FAQ on the subject – Sony’s Patrick Seybold, Senior Director for Corporate Communications & Social Media, confirms that the company is working with both law enforcement and “a recognized technology security firm” on what is being viewed as a criminal act. According to Seybold, credit card data was encrypted and users are only being warned about it “out of an abundance of caution”; personal data, however, was not encrypted but was, he insists, “behind a very sophisticated security system.”

It’s that security system which has been breached, of course, a side-effect of what Sony hacker George Hotz suggests is likely down to “arrogance and misunderstanding of ownership.”

“Traditionally the trust boundary for a web service exists between the server and the client. But Sony believes they own the client too, so if they just put a trust boundary between the consumer and the client(can’t trust those pesky consumers), everything is good. Since everyone knows the PS3 is unhackable, why waste money adding pointless security between the client and the server? This arrogance undermines a basic security principle, never trust the client … Notice it’s only PSN that gave away all your personal data, not Xbox Live when the 360 was hacked, not iTunes when the iPhone was jailbroken, and not GMail when Android was rooted. Because other companies aren’t crazy.” George Hotz

Sony maintains that certain services will be back online in under a week, though is yet to confirm which those services will be. The company is also facing a class action suit and what experts predict could amount to $24bn in credit card fraud.

PSN breach could cost Sony $24B

The Sony Playstation Network or PSN has been offline for a while now. At first users were irritated that they weren’t able to play online games and watch movies via Netflix. As the outage drug on things started to look worse with Sony hinting early on that the breach was believed to have been caused by a third party. Things deteriorated when Sony finally admitted there had been a breach, and it was possible that all the user’s account data was stolen including the credit card information.

Sony says at this point it has no indication that user credit card data was stolen. However, Application Security CTO Josh Shaul said, “They [Sony] indicated that they’re worried about it, which is probably a very strong indication that everything was stolen.” Sony has said that purchase history and credit card details “may” have been stolen but the three-digit security code wasn’t. The lack of that three digit code will do very little to protect anyone whose credit card details were stolen.

Forbes reports that if the hacker or hackers responsible for the heist were successful in getting the credit card data this would be one of the biggest known thefts of financial data. Sony is already facing class action suits over the breach, and that is only a fraction of the monetary liability Sony could have in the incident. The Ponemon Institute says that the estimated cost per record of a data breach in 2010 resulting from malicious action was $318 per compromised record. With 77 million user accounts, exposed Sony is looking at $24 billion in possible expenses.

[via Forbes]

Sony pulled PlayStation Network over rampant piracy?

A new explanation for the ongoing Sony PlayStation Network downtime has been suggested, with claims that Sony has taken the service offline so as to close a loophole that had been responsible for “extreme piracy of PSN content.” PSX-Scene‘s “Chesh” took to Reddit to outline how a new PlayStation 3 custom firmware called Rebug was used by hackers to gain access to the PSN’s developer networks. From there, it was possible to input fake credit card information and buy content without ever paying for it.

The security glitch, it’s suggested, is because Sony was not validating credit card information since the users were on its trusted private developer network. Sony allegedly responded by pulling the plug on the network completely; the “additional security” Sony representatives have admitted is being installed is apparently to combat this sort of hacking.

Chesh admits that the explanation is speculation pieced together from information throughout the PlayStation hacking community, however sources with access to the SCE devnet servers have apparently confirmed that Sony is telling developers that, moving forward, only 3.60+ debug firmware will be allowed onto the network. If developers want to retain their access then they not only need to upgrade, it’s claimed, but contact Sony too.

Rebug’s developers are not responsible for the credit card hack, though whether Sony will look kindly on them anyway remains to be seen. However, user credit card information is believed to be secure still.

[via TorrentFreak]

PS3 hacker’s house raided by the German police

Sony is still fighting against PS3 hackers and it looks like it won’t stop that. They’ve already sued Geohot & fail0verflow team for jailbreaking PlayStation 3. Now they have the German police on their side. PS3 hacker graf_chokolo’s house was raided by the German police.

As PS3 hacker George Hotz says on his new blog:

As many of you already know, 2 days ago his house was raided by the German police. Talk about a guy who clearly had no involvement at all with piracy, cheating, or the things Sony claims to care about. Do you want to know what he has that enrages the suits at Sony so much? Talent.

So, he had no involvement at all.. PS3 hackers are still fighting Sony and oh! Geohot has Microsoft on his side. Let’s see what’ll happen!

Geohot Woes, “We built your PS3. We built this world”

Geohot is sending stern message to Sony that without hackers like him and graf_chokolo, the world would never have survived and even added – “We built your PS3. We built this world”. George Hotz was compelled to say so, after the German police raided graf_chokolo’s home and seized all his computers. He was then sued by Sony for one million euros.

As many of you already know, 2 days ago his house was raided by the German police. Talk about a guy who clearly had no involvement at all with piracy, cheating, or the things Sony claims to care about. Do you want to know what he has that enrages the suits at Sony so much? Talent.

Some people call me immature, and you know what, they are probably right. Some call me stubborn, and they are right too. But this pales grossly in comparison to Sony, who is so butthurt over the PS3 being hacked they they are blinded by rage and incompetence.

A question, how many people do you think knew or cared on January 10 about all this? Maybe a couple hundred thousand? Under a percent of your market share. And these are geeks, who frankly aren’t going to change their content purchasing habits based on the news. These are the kind of people who really are hacking their PS3 just for the sake of doing it, just cause it’s cool. The kind of people who are telling you the truth when they say they really did just hack their PS3 to runLinux. Or they are diehard pirates who never would have bought the games anyway, you know the type.

Now fast forward to February 25. Consistently, the top Sony related news articleis about the PS3 being hacked. And the causal gamer comes along and sees, oh cool, the PS3 has been hacked, now I don’t have to buy games. With a few googlesearches, they come across stuff that I or graf_chokolo had nothing at all to do with. They install it and hit the torrent sites. Hell, I was on a political news show last night, you think those people ever would have heard about this?

Just imagine what the third party devs are thinking. The PS3 is hacked forever and Sony can’t do anything but fire away at scapegoats. Great confidence boost.

This grand show against people who aren’t even pirates has to be one of the worst corporate moves in recent history, perhaps even as dumb as the rootkit fiasco. Your competition fixes the problem technically and moves on. They want it to stay quiet. And as far as sending a message to “evil” hackers goes, it really isn’t working. Just read the writings of graf_chokolo.

And I quote “SONY wants about 750.000 euros from me if i don’t cooperate They don’t know me at all I don’t care about it and they might double it The higher is the sum the higher gets my motivation They don’t understand what makes me tick. Money and even my life doesn’t mean to me very much without knowledge. I have a scientific mind and the knowledge is food to my brain.”

They’ll never understand people like us. They are scared, as they rightfully should be. We built your PS3. We built this world. We are not mindless consumers. It is us with the brains and curiosity, not you with the guns, jails, suits, titles, and dollars. And the truth is, if all of you disappeared tomorrow, the world would continue on fine. Good luck surviving without people like graf_chokolo.

Play Playstation 3 / PS3 Games on iPad, iPhone & iPod touch with everyAir

You can now play PS3 games right on your iOS device. A group of hardware hackers anddevelopers “pandaelf” have devised a way using some off the shelf hardware and everyAir to allow you to play PS3 games on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

All they did was, connected a capture device to PS3 to send video data to the PC and a USB mouse/keyboard device to the PS3 console to send the button presses. For making PC to understand custom gestures, everyAir on PC was installed. The output of which was then sent to PS3 as input via the input interpreter.

To send video signal back and forth between PS3 and iOS device, developers used an off the shelf capture device and a custom build of everyAir with an off the shelf mouse/keyboard device that connects to the PS3.

However, the graphics are not clean as on PS3 console but for the extreme dedication or the fervor they have shown for the platform, you have to give them quite a bit of credit. No ETA so far, but developers say, that in near future they will release it.

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