PSN hit with new security snag, but Sony says it was no hack

Part of the PlayStation Network went black again yesterday – an outage that Sony has chalked up to a 'URL exploit.'

The PlayStation Network was pulled down again yesterday. But Sony said no PSN hack was involved. Here, a PlayStation controller is shown in close-up.

Yesterday, part of the PlayStation Network – the gaming platform that recently has been rocked repeatedly by hacks and outages – went dark again. Multiplayer games never went offline, but Sony shut down an official website that allowed users to reset their account passwords. The closure attempted to plug a new online vulnerability.

"The exploit allows other users to reset your account password using only your e-mail address and date of birth," reports Ars Technica. "This personal data was made available to hackers during the initial PSN attack."

But not long after the website was pulled down to protect users, Sony rep Patrick Seybold took to the PlayStation blog to assure readers that –– "contrary to some reports" –– another breach had not taken place. "In the process of resetting of passwords there was a URL exploit that we have subsequently fixed," Seybold wrote. "Consumers who haven’t reset their passwords for PSN are still encouraged to do so directly on their PS3."

Either way, over at ZDNet, Peter Cohen chides Sony for the repeated breaches in network security. "Sony really needs to get its act together and tighten security as much as possible," Cohen writes, in a riposte well worth reading. "In the interim, more and more gamers will likely do what I’m doing –– playing their Xbox 360s using Microsoft’s comparatively much more robust Xbox Live service."

Earlier this week, in an effort to make amends for the outage, Sony offered PSN users a "Welcome Back" package, which included a range of niceties: free PSP games, free PS3 titles, free movie rentals, free virtual items for PlayStation Home, and a free 30 days PlayStation Plus membership. PSN users have thirty days to choose from this grab bag. More on that over here.

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