Japan Says 'No' to Sony PlayStation Network Relaunch

Monday, May 16, 2011

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Over the weekend, Sony began a phased relaunch of the company's beleaguered PlayStation Network, complete with updated software and the promise of much higher standards for security.

Sony issued a statement accompanying the relaunch of its service, which seeks to assure that "the company has made considerable enhancements to the data security, including updating and adding advanced security technologies; additional software monitoring and penetration and vulnerability testing; and increased levels of encryption and additional firewalls. The company also added a variety of other measures to the network infrastructure, including an early-warning system for unusual activity patterns that could signal an attempt to compromise the network."

The assurances of better security measures was enough to make PSN service offerings available across the United States and several other nations, but was not enough to satisfy officials in the company's home country of Japan.

"As of May 13, Sony was incomplete in exercising measures that they said they will do on the May 1 press conference," said Kazushige Nobutani, Japan's director of media and content in the country's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

The Japanese government is demanding Sony provide more evidence that the new security protocols are adequate to protect sensitive data belonging to the company's millions of subscribers.

"There were similar cases in the past that were caused by other firms... and we are asking Sony whether their measures are good enough when compared to countermeasures taken in the past." Nobutani said.

In late April, Sony announced that the company's PlayStation network servers had been hacked, exposing the records of more than 70 million customers. During the course of the investigation, Sony discovered that the company's Online Entertainment network had also been compromised, exposing another 25 million customer records.

The breaches forced Sony to shut down both the PSN and Online Entertainment networks. Sony has since been the subject of a great deal of criticism regarding the company's delay in notifying authorities and customers of the exposure of account details.

To make matters worse, security experts believe Sony was lax when it came to security efforts that could have prevented the unauthorized intrusion of the company's networks.

Dr. Gene Spafford offered Congressional testimony that Sony was running outdated and obsolete software on the PlayStation and Online Entertainment Networks, leaving the systems extremely vulnerable to attack. Sony has since denied the allegations.

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