UPDATE: On April 26, Sony revealed the reason they pulled the PlayStation Network servers offline, and it's about the worst scenario you can possibly image. In a post on the official PlayStation blog, Sony's Patrick Seybold revealed that "certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network."
What sort of account information was obtained? Here's a list of what Sony thinks the hacker responsible might have gotten access to:
Billing Address (city, state, zip, country)
PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login
PSN Online ID
PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers
Credit Card Data (Sony doesn't have evidence of this, but can't rule it out)
Sony is recommending that users change their passwords when the service comes back on line, and are sure to change any passwords on other services that use the same log-in information.
Basically it's a nightmare scenario for Sony, with every single piece of secure user data being stolen by a hacker or hackers. The company will be emailing registered users with information on how to guard against fraud now that their personal information has been compromised.
There's still no update as to when the PSN servers will return, but Sony says that "teams are working around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible."
UPDATE: On April 22, Sony posted the following statement on their official blog:
"An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network & Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th. Providing quality entertainment services to our customers and partners is our utmost priority. We are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we once again thank you for your patience. We will continue to update you promptly as we have additional information to share."
Seems the rumors of hacker involvement were indeed true.
Original Story: The PlayStation Network has seen its fair share of problems since it launched, but its latest woes may be the worst yet. Starting this morning, users started running to forums and blogs to complain that they were having difficulty connecting to PSN, receiving an error code "80710A06." The reason for the outage is presently unknown and apparently more serious than Sony was expecting. On the official PlayStation Blog, Patrick Seybold, the Sr. Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media for SCEA, laid out the present situation in a brief statement:
"While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running. Thank you very much for your patience while we work to resolve this matter. Please stay tuned to this space for more details, and we’ll update you again as soon as we can."
This isn't something that's going to be fixed in the next hour...this is serious, and based on that statement, it seems Sony is having difficulty tracking down the root cause. There are theories that hackers, protesting the recent legal battle between Sony and a PS3 hacker, are the ones behind the attacks, but none of that can be confirmed at this time.
It's not the first time PSN has run into issues. Back in March, 2010, PSN was inaccessible for numerous users worldwide for about a day. That issue was a bit more grievous, as it prevented some players from enjoying PS3 games, even if they weren't attempting to connect online.
Just how long the outage will last is still up in the air. We've reached to Sony for comment, so if there's any update, you'll know when we do.