May 13, 2011 at 12:33 PM ET
Sony, whose PlayStation Network remains down, has added some more peace offerings in its effort to keep customers with them, including free identity theft protection for a year to its U.S. users.
Those who are interested will have to sign up by June 28 for the ID theft plan with Debix. Users outside the United States will be offered a similar program "if and as available," Sony said. The PlayStation Network has been offline for more than three weeks, as Sony works to recover from a massive security breach by shoring up its security.
Details, including information on how to sign up for the identity theft program, will be emailed to Station Account holders in the U.S. "soon," Sony said in a statement. "Additionally, Station Account holders will be required to reset their password prior to signing up for this program as an added security measure."
The identity theft program includes regular monitoring and surveillance; customers will get monthly "identity status reports," according to Sony. "Debix works with an alliance of cyber-crime experts from the government, academia and industry to provide these services."
The coverage also includes a $1 million ID theft "insurance policy" for each user in case identity theft happens. However, Denis Kelly, author of “The Official Identity Theft Protection Handbook,” told Reuters that customers of such policies are "not protected from identity theft ... It is not that the service directly places the consumer at risk, but it is the resulting mindset that jeopardize the consumer due to the false sense of security.” Kelly recommends that anyone who wants to protect their credit from identity theft consider setting up fraud alerts with their credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Sony also said players will get 30 days of game time "added to the end of the current billing cycle in addition to one day for each day the system is down. Additionally, many games are offering a variety of in-game items and special events to welcome players back once our services resume ... This is true for both PC and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system based products." (A list of the games can be seen here.)
"For our lifetime subscribers, we'll grant in-game currency; specifically 20,000 coins for 'Free Realms,' 7,500 Galactic Credits for 'Clone Wars Adventures' and 10 Marks of Distinction for 'DC Universe Online' ... And finally, our Station Access subscribers will receive 500 Station Cash, in addition to the subscription time and items listed above."
There's still no word on when PSN will be up: "We continue to work around the clock to restore Sony Online Entertainment's services and thank you for your continued patience as we complete our investigation of this criminal attack," the company said.
Said one player, on Sony's PlayStation blog: "Please sony, can u guys try to get the network back on by the weekend because im gettin bored playing offline!!!! its killing me."