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Sony Offers Free AllClear ID Plus Identity Theft Protection & More


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181w ago - Today Sony's Senior Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media Patrick Seybold has announced that they are offering free AllClear ID Plus Identity Theft Protection in the United States (and coming soon to Europe as detailed HERE) through Debix, Inc.

To quote: Last weekend, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that we will provide complimentary enrollment in an identity theft protection program.

Here are the details of this program for PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders in the United States only. We are working to make similar programs available in other countries/territories where applicable. Information will be posted on local websites/blogs when available.

Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment International have made arrangements with Debix, Inc., one of the industry's most reputable identity protection firms, to offer AllClear ID Plus at no cost to PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders for 12 months from the time an account holder registers for the program.

Please note that we will start sending out activation emails for this program over the next few days, and you will have until June 18th to sign-up and redeem your code. You will need to sign up directly through AllClearID, not on Sony's websites, and details, including step-by-step instructions for the program, will be emailed to United States PSN and Qriocity Account holders soon.

The details of the program include, but are not limited to:

• Cyber monitoring and surveillance of the Internet to detect exposure of an AllClear ID Plus customer's personal information, including monitoring of criminal web sites and data recovered by law enforcement.

If his/her personal information is found, the customer will be alerted by phone and/or email and will be provided advice and support regarding protective steps to take. The customer will also receive monthly identity status reports. Debix works with an alliance of cyber-crime experts from the government, academia and industry to provide these services.

• Priority access to licensed private investigators and identity restoration specialists. If an AllClear ID Plus customer receives an alert, or otherwise suspects that he/she may be the victim of identity theft, the customer can speak directly, on a priority basis, with an on-staff licensed private investigator, who will conduct a comprehensive inquiry.

In the case of an identity theft, the customer can work with an identity restoration specialist to contact creditors and others, and take necessary steps to restore the customer's identity.

• A $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user to provide additional protection in the event that an AllClear ID Plus customer becomes a victim of identity theft. This insurance would provide financial relief of up to $1 million for covered identity restoration costs, legal defense expenses, and lost wages that occur within 12 months after the stolen identity event.

More information will be available on the enrollment page, a link which will be included in the email you will receive.

We continue to work around the clock to have some PlayStation Network services and Qriocity services restored, and will be providing you specific details shortly. Thank you.

In related news today, Sony has also [Register or Login to view links] the following important step to reassure PSN service restoration, to quote:

Today our global network and security teams at Sony Network Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment began the final stages of internal testing of the new system, an important step towards restoring PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.

As previously mentioned, we'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.

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. We will provide additional updates as soon as we can.

Finally, Sony's Howard Stringer has [Register or Login to view links] a letter to PSN users which states the following, to quote:

Dear Friends,

I know this has been a frustrating time for all of you.

Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we've all experienced and on fixing it. We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less.

To date, there is no confirmed evidence any credit card or personal information has been misused, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We are also moving ahead with plans to help protect our customers from identity theft around the world. A program for U.S. PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers that includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user was launched earlier today and announcements for other regions will be coming soon.

As we have announced, we will be offering a "Welcome Back" package to our customers once our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are up and running. This will include, among other benefits, a month of free PlayStation Plus membership for all PSN customers, as well as an extension of subscriptions for PlayStation Plus and Music Unlimited customers to make up for time lost.

As a company we – and I – apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused by this attack. Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, we have teams working around the clock and around the world to restore your access to those services as quickly, and as safely, as possible.

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.

As a result of what we discovered we notified you of the breach. Our investigation is ongoing, and we are upgrading our security so that if attacks like this happen again, our defenses will be even stronger.

In the last few months, Sony has faced a terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But now we are facing a very man-made event - a criminal attack on us – and on you – and we are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world to apprehend those responsible.

In the coming days, we will restore service to the networks and welcome you back to the fun. I wanted to personally reach out and let you know that we are committed to serving you to the very best of our ability, protecting your information better than ever, and getting you back to what you signed up for - all the games and great entertainment experiences that you expect from Sony.

With best regards,
Howard Stringer



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Comments 29 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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leukotic's Avatar
#29 - leukotic - 181w ago
Thanks for the info Homer, was a nice read. I still find it insane that they weren't running any firewalls, and I am surprised it took so long for this to happen. I also find it coincidental that there was major PSN outages around the 13-14th of April, I remember checking the PS forums and tons of people were unable to log into the PSN for several days, now it is clear it was due to the attack in some shape or form. Seems to me Sony should have been aware of this MUCH earlier than the 19th.

GrandpaHomer's Avatar
#28 - GrandpaHomer - 181w ago
To qoute from latest CNET article with detailed overview of the whole PSN saga:

Still coping with the aftereffects of a pair of attacks that has compromised as many as 100 million accounts and which caused two online gaming services to be taken offline, Japanese electronics giant Sony is considering offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the attackers, people familiar with the matter say.

The company hasn't reached a final decision concerning whether it will offer a reward, and may decide not to do it at all, but the option is on the table, sources told me today. The fact that Sony is considering a reward at all speaks to how seriously it wants the person or people who carried out the attacks that have forced its gaming services offline for nearly two weeks to face prosecution.

If Sony does decide to offer a reward, it will do so in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the relevant law enforcement agencies in other countries. The discussions around the pros and cons of offering a reward are not complete and would require the sign-off of senior Sony executives in Tokyo, who have not given their go-ahead, these people say. The reward is being considered as one of many options Sony is mulling in consultation with law enforcement to try to jar loose any information on the identity of the attackers.

Word of a possible reward offering comes as the Financial Times reported that two members of the hacking group Anonymous have informed the FBI that members of the loosely associated group of activist hackers carried out the attacks that compromised the system and prompted Sony to shut down two of its online gaming services. A person or people involved with the initial denial-of-service attacks carried out against Sony in support of a hacker named George Hotz may have gone beyond the bounds of the action that was intended simply to hit Sony'sPlayStation Gaming Network with more requests for service than it could handle and temporarily knock it off the Web.


Another interesting passage from the same article:

Meanwhile, Sony denied assertions by computer security expert Gene Spafford during a Congressional hearing Thursday that it had been running outdated versions of Web server software and had not been using a firewall on its servers. In a statement from Patrick Seybold, Sony's senior director, Corporate Communications and Social Media, that's expected to be published on Sony's PlayStation blog, the company was using updated software and had "multiple security measures in place." Here's the statement in full:

"The previous network for Sony Network Entertainment International and Sony Online Entertainment used servers that were patched and updated recently, and had multiple security measures in place, including firewalls."

Separately, Sony President Kaz Hirai sent a letter to Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal containing a detailed timeline of the attack and Sony's response to it. The letter contains previously undisclosed details about the attack and the hardware Sony uses to run its gaming services.

The letter, which is embedded below, says that the systems involved use 130 servers and 50 distinct software programs. Sony first noticed the attack on April 19, when its network team discovered that several PlayStation Network servers had rebooted themselves unexpectedly. Four servers were immediately taken offline in order to figure out what was going on. By the next day, it was clear that another six had been attacked, and they were taken offline as well. By April 23, computer forensic teams confirmed that intruders had used what Sony describes as "very sophisticated and aggressive techniques to obtain unauthorized access to the servers and hide their presence from the system administrators" and had deleted log files showing the footprints of where in the system they had been. By April 24, Sony had hired three different computer security firms to investigate the attack.

Source: [Register or Login to view links]

ionbladez's Avatar
#27 - ionbladez - 181w ago
I didn't get any email from sony about this, on my fake japanese account I did, but not my main one. surely anyone can guess what the name would be.

elser1's Avatar
#26 - elser1 - 181w ago
more bull..

GrandpaHomer's Avatar
#25 - GrandpaHomer - 181w ago
Another update (on update) on Sony's Blog:
As you may know, we’ve begun the process of restoring the service through internal testing of the new system. We’re still working to confirm the security of the network infrastructure, as well as working with a variety of outside entities to confirm with them of the security of the system. Verifying the system security is vital for the process of restoration. Additional comprehensive system checks and testing are still required, and we must complete that process before bringing the systems online.

As you’ve heard us say, 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.

When we held the press conference in Japan last week, based on what we knew, we expected to have the services online within a week. We were unaware of the extent of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers, and we are taking this opportunity to conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system. 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. We will update you with more information as soon as we have it. We apologize for the delay and inconvenience of this network outage.

Source: [Register or Login to view links]

So - as expected - PSN is still nowhere even close to be back online and Sony continues pulling our leg and the dates of restoring the service out of the hat.

Comon Sony! Be at least brave enough to say "we have NO clue" how long it will take or announce a realistic estimate instead. With so many "specialist" you are claiming to have involved all the time and working around the clock you should do better that that.

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