April 25, 2011 at 3:35 PM ET
It's been five days and as a legion of frustrated PlayStation 3 owners can tell you, Sony's online PlayStation Network is still offline.
Sony on Friday released an official statement explaining that the outage to its PlayStation Network – which began last Wednesday evening April 20 – was caused by what appears to be a hacking intrusion.
Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment in Tokyo, told PC World the company is trying to determine if personal information or credit card numbers of users have been compromised. He said the company will promptly inform users if they discover that is the case.
The PlayStation Network allows PS3 owners to play games together online as well as download games, movies and music to their home console.
On Monday, Patrick Syebold, head of Sony of America's corporate communications, sent a message to frustrated customers via the official PlayStation blog, apologizing for the continued outage and explaining that the company still could not say when the service would go back on line:
I know you are waiting for additional information on when PlayStation Network and Qriocity services will be online. Unfortunately, I don’t have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time.
As we previously noted, this is a time intensive process and we’re working to get them back online quickly. We’ll keep you updated with information as it becomes available. We once again thank you for your patience.
Additionally, game site Kotaku contacted the FBI and has confirmed that there have been no arrests made in the outage despite rumors that 40 arrest warrants had been issued.
The hacker collective Anonymous has both been blamed by gamers for the outage while various factions of the group have also denied responsibility for the outage.
In a recent post on their official news site, they insisted: "For once, it wasn't us."
While it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves AnonOps was not related to this incident and takes no responsiblity for it. A more likely explination is that Sony is taking advantage of Anonymous' previous ill-will towards the company to distract users from the fact the outage is accutally an internal problem with the companies servers.
That claim has been greeted with some skepticism. After all the group did admit to attacking and taking down the PlayStation network as well as several Sony PlayStation websites in March as a response to the company's lawsuit against hacker George "GeoHot" Hotz.
Interestingly, a visit to Anonymous' own website on Monday revealed that it was offline for a time, though it eventually went back up.
Who is responsible for the PlayStation Network attack and why it's taking so long to repair remains a mystery. Though Seybold did reveal that Sony itself took the PlayStation network offline in a post to the PlayStation blog:
An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network & Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th. Providing quality entertainment services to our customers and partners is our utmost priority. We are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we once again thank you for your patience. We will continue to update you promptly as we have additional information to share.
Reaction from PlayStation 3 owners to the outage has been mixed. While many PlayStation owners have been frustrated by their inability to play games such as the newly launched "Mortal Kombat" and "Portal 2" online together thanks to the outage, many have also been supportive of Sony.
"Awesome. Keep up the good work. We are grateful for your efforts," wrote one gamer in response to Seybold's morning post.
"Boy I sure am glad I paid $50 for a membership I cant use, and pay $15 a month for a game I cant play," wrote another. "I was fine with a day or two, but we are hitting on day 5."
But the prevailing sentiment seemed to be summed up in this response to Seybold's Monday note to gamers:
"Thanks for the update, but i believe what everyone wants to know is whether credit card info and the money already in our accounts was compromised at any point."
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