If you’ve been watching the news lately, you’ll have noticed that the PlayStation Network, which provides online gameplay and digital game shopping for owners of PlayStation 3 and PSP devices, has been down since last Wednesday. Their on-demand streaming service, Qriocity, is also down. There’s been a huge buzz about it for the last week, but it’s hard to cut through the buzz to get the actual information. I’ve done a little digging, so here are some of the basics.
The general consensus is that Sony (the guys who make the PlayStation) discovered a security breach last week – someone may have gained access to the over 70 million PlayStation Network accounts. If someone has access to that information, they can access passwords, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, names, and credit card numbers. To protect the users, they shut down the PlayStation Network.
Earlier in the week, there was a rumor out that a DDoS (distributed denial of service) had crashed the PlayStation Network. A DDoS is caused when too many people try to connect to a server at the same time. The rumor had it that some hackers used some “zombie” computers (computers that they had infected with malware that are now under their control) to all connect to the PlayStation Network at the same time, thereby causing the DDoS. However that rumor has been largely discredited.
Sony hasn’t said much about the situation to the users of the PlayStation Network besides the fact that there’s been a security breach, which has angered many users. Sony, of course, hopes to get the Network back online soon (although I don’t think they mentioned a timeframe.)
Update, April 28: Sony has been hit with 2 lawsuits because it “failed to release information about the break-in soon enough.”
Read more: Wired article, some suspects, Sony’s statement.