Sony Online offers ID theft monitoring, in-game bonuses

Sony's multiplayer gaming network will offer free ID theft monitoring for customers whose personal data was stolen. PC- and PS3-based online gamers will also get free in-game bonus items and currency.

Sony Online Entertainment today offered more details on how it will compensate customers affected by the three-week-long outage of the PC and console gaming network, which Sony says should be online in "at least a few more days."

U.S. customers with an account for the multiplayer online gaming service will get free identity theft protection from security firm Debix. Customers in other countries will be getting similar offers soon, according to the statement. This is in addition to the offer made last week to PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers affected by the same breach.

In addition, all players will get one month of free service as compensation, plus another free day for every day past one month the service remains inaccessible. Sony Online is also giving players in-game bonuses for several of its titles, both for PC games and PlayStation 3 games such as DC Universe Online, Free Realms, and EverQuest.

Customers who've paid for "lifetime" subscriptions will get free in-game currency (20,000 coins for Free Realms, 7,500 Galactic Credits for Clone Wars Adventures, and 10 Marks of Distinction for DC Universe Online).

For a complete list of the in-game bonus items, see the company's statement.

Several of Sony's servers were attacked between April 17 and April 19, leading to the exposure of personal data of more than 100 million customers who signed up for PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and Sony Online. The company took the networks for downloading and playing games, movies, and music offline three weeks ago and said earlier this week it plans to restore them "in the next few days."

Related links
• Anonymous: Group didn't hack Sony, but members may have
• The PlayStation Network breach (FAQ)
• PSN breach exposes records of millions

Sony also instituted a "Welcome Back" program to encourage its customers to return to the PSN whenever it does come back online. In addition to free identity theft monitoring through Debix that PSN and Qriocity customers can enroll in for free, Sony says it will offer free downloads, and one month of free PlayStation Plus service for 30 days. Current Music Unlimited by Qriocity subscribers will get 30 days of free service.

The company said last week it does not know who orchestrated what it is calling a well-planned "sophisticated" cyberattack. It has pointed to the hacker group Anonymous based on a file it found planted on its Sony Online servers labeled "Anonymous," with a fragment of the group's tagline "We are Legion." But the group has denied it orchestrated the event.

While Sony investigates the attacks on Sony Online and PSN and rebuilds their security, some third parties that offer services via PSN affected by the outage are also offering discounts as compensation to their customers.

Hulu Plus, the subscription version of Hulu, was one of the first to say that since customers can't access its service while the PSN is down it would offer one week of credit to affected users.

Major League Baseball has sent its MLB.TV customers an e-mail each week the outage has continued notifying customers they'll receive a $5 refund. MLB.TV customers pay for access to baseball games in packages starting at $100 that they can watch via the Web, some smartphones and set-top boxes, the iPad, and game consoles like the PlayStation 3.

Netflix has been intermittently available during the outage for those using the streaming feature via their PS3, but is not offering refunds.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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