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This cloud doesn’t have much of a silver lining right now: Sony (NYSE: SNE) has closed down two of its media services, its PlayStation Network for gaming and its Qriocity entertainment service, after a malicious intrusion resulted in a “compromise of personal information” on the two cloud-based networks. The news will do little to help the image of cloud services as security nightmares, and ironically comes on the same day that Sony formally announced its first two media tablets — devices that hinge on services like Qriocity and the PlayStation Network both to attract users and to provide recurring revenue streams for the device makers.
About an hour ago, Sony released a blog post saying that it hopes to have the two services restored by the end of the week. It also, for the first time, provided some more detail about what happened:
We believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.
The PlayStation Network is a service that lets users play against other players on the network, as well as chat to each other. The Qriocity service, meanwhile, is Sony’s new cloud-based digital entertainment venture, offering users music, TV shows, films and other entertainment streamed to various Sony devices. The company has not provided any numbers on how many subscribers Qriocity has today, but the PlayStation Network connects some 75 million users internationally.
The outage actually goes back to last week, when Sony identified that an external intrustion on the system that runs the PlayStation Network and Qriocity. Since closing down, Sony has seen tens of thousands of comments from users on its PSN Facebook page and on Twitter. Now that it’s admitted the possibility of a serious data leak, those comments are likely to get a little angrier.
Sony is advising users to be more vigilant about their account statements and credit reports; to make sure not to provide any personal information to anyone requesting it in connection with Sony; and to change all passwords when the services are restored.