PlayStation Network back online very soon, says Sony

As engineers race to get PlayStation Network back online, Sony offers free credit protection and fraud insurance.

The PlayStation Network is in the final stages of internal testing, Sony announced today, which could mean the PSN will come back online by the end of this week.

The new, improved PlayStation Network is in the "final stages of internal testing," Sony announced yesterday on the official PlayStation blog –– an important step toward bringing PSN back online. Patrick Seybold, the director of corporate communications at Sony, said in a previous post that Sony had predicted PSN would be restored by the end of this week.

"[W]e’ve been working around the clock to rebuild the network and enhance protections of your personal data. It’s our top priority to ensure your data is safe when you begin using the services again," Seybold wrote. "We understand that many of you are eager to again enjoy the PlayStation Network and Qriocity entertainment services that you love, so we wanted you to be aware of this milestone and our progress."

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In a separate post, Seybold said Sony will soon begin to offer free credit protection to PSN users. The credit protection service, AllClear ID Plus, will be implemented by a company called Debix; activation emails will be issued within "the next few days." Included in the service is fraud insurance that covers up to $1 million of "identity restoration costs, legal defense expenses, and lost wages that occur within 12 months after the stolen identity event."

Translation: Get your information stolen, and –– assuming you're enrolled in the AllClear ID Plus plan –– Sony will help keep you out of the red. In an statement released yesterday, Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer apologized for the "inconvenience and concern caused by this attack." Stringer, who has been blamed by some for being a little slow on the draw, added the following:

I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.

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