Game makers get few new details on PSN outage

A letter from Sony to publishers is short on new info about when PSN will return, but reveals some facts about the cyberattack that downed the network for going on four weeks.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
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.
Erica Ogg
2 min read
PlayStation Network breach

Sony hasn't provided the public any significant update about the status of the PlayStation Network outage or investigation into the security breach in a week. It turns out its video game publisher partners aren't getting much more new information either.

At least that's what we can surmise from a letter from Sony's head of publisher relations that was leaked to gaming blog Industry Gamers last night. The letter mostly repeats what Sony has already posted on its PlayStation blog and written in e-mails to the 77 million users whose information was exposed in a cyberattackmore than three weeks ago.

But Rob Dyer, senior vice president of Publisher Relations at Sony, did manage to sneak in a few details in the letter about how the attack went down that hadn't been reported before.

Sony had told us that the intrusion on its network took place between April 17 and 19. But the letter notes that it wasn't until several PSN servers "unexpectedly rebooted themselves" that the company was alerted there might have been a problem.

Dyer also says that while the company thought the unusual network activity was limited to four servers, further inspection revealed it stretched to a total of 10 servers. At that point, all PSN servers were shut down.

In the course of the investigation of the attack, Sony found that after the hackers were inside Sony's system, they managed to "hide their presence from system administrators and escalate privileges inside the servers." They then were able to delete the log files that would have shown exactly what they did while having access to PSN servers.

That's it for new information. The most recent update on PSN from Sony came Tuesday, when they said the network would be restored in "a few more days." Sony has not elaborated on what "a few" means.

Meanwhile, there are signs that PlayStation 3 customers are getting impatient. A report this morning says that as the PSN outage has stretched on, retail trade-ins of the gaming console for cash or Microsoft XBox 360 are on the rise.