PlayStation Network still down: Sony has 'begun' restoring service – sort of

PlayStation Network remains down as parent company Sony conducts further testing to determine the security of the system. How testing counts as 'restoring' service, Sony didn't say.

By , Correspondent

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    Boys play Sony Playstation Portables (PSPs) at an electronic shop in Tokyo on May 7. Sony said on Saturday it had removed from the Internet the names and partial addresses of 2,500 sweepstakes contestants that had been stolen by hackers and posted on a website, and said it did not know when it could restart its PlayStation Network.
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The PlayStation Network will go back up soon – but not that soon, according to Sony spokesman Nick Caplin. Sony simultaneously raised and dashed hopes with Saturday's announcement that they had "begun the process of restoring service," which millions of fans have been waiting for – but then added that really, they are simply continuing their internal and external tests of the new system.

Testing is vital to the ongoing security of the network, of course, but it's cold comfort to the gamers who just want to play.

The PlayStation Network has been down since late April, when hackers compromised the network and stole identifying information from all of PlayStation and Qriosity's 77 million users as well as credit card or banking information from 24,400 users.

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After publicly announcing on May 1 that the PlayStation Network would be back up within the week, security experts discovered that the attack had penetrated Sony Online Entertainment servers more deeply than they had first realized. That prompted further tests, and more delays.

Some evidence implicated the hacker group Anonymous, Sony Chairman Kazuo Hirai told a congressional subcommittee this week. Anonymous, best known for attacking websites in support of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, has vigorously denied any responsibility.

Internet chat boards frequented by hackers suggest that Sony could receive another attack Sunday, May 8, which would further delay the return of the popular gaming service.

"Our utmost priorities are the security of the network and ensuring your data is safe. We won’t restore the services until we can test the system’s strength in these respects," said the statement on PlayStation's blog. "We know many of you are wanting to play games online, chat with your friends and enjoy all of the services PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have to offer, and trust me when I say we’re doing everything we can to make it happen."

After weeks without service and a constantly retreating deadline for bringing the network back online, PlayStation risks losing not only its players' "trust" but their business, as gamers look elsewhere.

To appease customers angered by the delay, PlayStation has promised that all customers will get a free month of PlayStation Plus, as well as free new games and new online security protection. They've also hinted that new services, including the long-awaited cross-game chat and video chat, could appear when the network comes back online – whenever that is.

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