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PSN Down: The Theories

I'm your hackleberry.

Tongues are, as you’d expect, wagging. Every social network on the internet is asking what’s up with the PlayStation Network, and the silence from camp Sony is, figuratively, deafening.

Nobody outside of the adamantine walls (lined as they are with the glistening carcasses of PSPgo consoles) is saying very much, and people are getting annoyed, anxious, worried – some have even switched allegiance and splashed out on a 360.  Or so they say.

So, what’s going on?  Well, naturally, we don’t know either, but we’ve been watching the web over the last day or so and have collated what seem to be the three most popular ideas and thoughts.

The network has been DDoS’d – this, a concentrated traffic assault, doesn’t seem likely.  The PSN immediately tells you the thing is off ‘for maintenance’ and so suggests that, from a layman’s perceptive sure, that the actual network is bobbing along nicely.  It is, apparently, just the actual sign-in authentication process that’s currently offline, something echoed by the fact that pre-started downloads continue to zip by in the background.

Besides, Anon have already said this isn’t anything to do with them.

The PSN has been hacked – this seems more likely, but hopefully not what’s going on.  If customer details were compromised Sony would surely have said by now, it has been a few days – at least that’s our hope.  Other thoughts related include Trophies being reset and download counts being wiped – massively unlikely – we’re pretty sure Sony knows what they’re doing in terms of backups.

Hackers found a way to get free games on the Store – this holds a bit of weight as the most likely.  Despite having access to a debug PS3, this one’s new to us, but we’ve heard on Twitter and a few forums that you can grant PSN credit so that testers and so on can grab games without handing over real money, on the development version of the network.

The PSN on debug machines doesn’t require any sort of fund transaction, fake or otherwise, but according to a post on NeoGAF, it might be something to do with authenticating licences for full game packages (which can be downloaded). This authentication system may have been compromised over the last week or so, and Sony have locked off the PSN to get this fixed, especially if the methods have become public.

Some people on Twitter are asking whether payment card details have been compromised, without answer.

The truth is we don’t know what’s going on, and only a very select few do.  Whilst Sony are battling to get it fixed (they are, of course, despite the moans: anyone that thinks otherwise has no idea about shares, shareholders and revenue, not to mention public opinion) public updates are few and far between, causing tension and a sense of the unknown.

It’s annoying, yes, but what can we do?

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122 Comments
  1. TURRICAN-808
    Member
    Since: Jan 2011

    - A hacker sleeper cell within PSN Staff members
    - a ninja
    - A virus
    - a dog
    - a hacker from Anonymous that didn’t get CC’d into the global email to stop hacking SONY
    - a rougue super nintendo

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 22:51.
    • shifty360
      Member
      Since: Mar 2010

      its the queen wanting people to watch her grandsons wedding i heard she is quite savvy with a computer these days

      Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 22:54.
      • Flash
        Member
        Since: May 2009

        This ^
        Tomorrow, Live goes down too. She’s watching you…

        Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:12.
    • philzy85
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      SkyNet is controlling all those PSPGo embedded walls, and has transformer-style constructed a complex super brain that is now calculating when Kerry Katona (or Jordan, Super Brain isn’t picky) will pop her clogs and finally be gone from our screens!!!

      Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:08.
      • Flash
        Member
        Since: May 2009

        OMG imagine if Sony are being held hostage by some SkyNet superbot?

        Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:13.
    • TURRICAN-808
      Member
      Since: Jan 2011

      Update 2: Patrick Seybold posted an update on the PlayStation Blog tonight saying the outage will continue and that Sony is re-building its system to “further strengthen our network infrastructure.” His statement can be read in full below:
      We sincerely regret that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have been suspended, and we are working around the clock to bring them both back online. Our efforts to resolve this matter involve re-building our system to further strengthen our network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, we decided it was worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security. We thank you for your patience to date and ask for a little more while we move towards completion of this project. We will continue to give you updates as they become available.
      No theories needed, lol

      Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 06:43.
      • KeRaSh
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        It doesn’t say what caused the downtime in the first place.

        Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 08:05.
  2. shifty360
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    pray to kratos him self to smite these evil do’ers

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 22:53.
  3. fattyuk
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    ItZ crozz GamEZ chaT I Telzz YaS !!!

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 22:54.
  4. TURRICAN-808
    Member
    Since: Jan 2011

    I don’t care that the PSN is down, i can play on UN Squadron on the SNES, Manhunt & Shadow of Rome and Street Fighter Colllection on the PS2 all hooked up to an LCD TV !! its great to play these old games again!

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 22:55.
  5. m61726b
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    You forgot Alan Titchmarsh and Matthew Wright. There sat at home diverting PSN traffic to Crimestoppers as we’re all potential mass murderers.

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 22:57.
  6. gideon1451
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    It is frustrating, but at the end of the day, it is a free service & shouldn’t be taken for granted.

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 22:59.
    • colossalblue
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      it used to be a free service (and the vast majority still is) but many people are now paying for PS+ and are not able to use the service. I’m also personally paying for LoveFilm streaming (signed up and only used to stream via my PS3) and I can’t use that either.
      Since Sony started selling services attached to it the argument that it’s free so a consumer doesn’t have rights is even weaker than it was before.

      Having said that, the levels of ranting hysteria around certain corners of the internet are a bit much…

      Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:08.
    • cc_star
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Forever

      You got your PS3, your games and your related services for free?

      Please link me

      Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:16.
      • iAvernus
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Lol cc! Good one.

        Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 05:27.
    • Kaminari
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      It’s not a free service. It’s part of the package you pay when you get a PS3 (hint: it’s written on the box in big fat letters).

      While I’m sure Sony are working on the issue (of course), they prove to be highly incompetent at it. You would never see Apple, Google, Paypal, eBay, Facebook, etc. leave their customers in the dark for 4 days. Those have been confronted to similar security problems in the past, and their interruptions of service have never exceeded a few hours at most.

      Yet here we are, likely looking at a full week outage, and Sony taking their sweet time without giving any meaningful information to their user base. How professional is that?

      Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 07:04.
  7. colossalblue
    Team TSA: Editor
    Since: Forever

    I was talking about it with my wife this afternoon and she suggested that Sony’s own account might have been hacked by someone who then changed their password and they just can’t guess what it is to get back in.

    I was amused by the notion but the more I thought about it, the more possible it seems.

    Tech things break, hackers exploit vulnerabilities. These things happen. I don’t think we should be particularly annoyed that it went down (although three days is stretching a paying consumer base’s patience somewhat) but I am personally quite annoyed at the lack of firm information coming from Sony. It seems nothing more than “we know it’s broken, we’re trying to fix it but we don’t have a clue when it might be back” and that’s simply not good enough for any consumer-provider relationship.

    They can’t have lost personal details though, surely? If they’ve lost credit card details and haven’t warned customers by now there is sure to be huge class action lawsuits against them. I’d be surprised if the credit card encryptions had been compromised but I’ll still be checking my statements, simply because you can’t be too careful. I’ve had my card compromised twice after using one particular online retailer and it’s a bit of a hassle to clear up.

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:00.
    • TURRICAN-808
      Member
      Since: Jan 2011

      You make a valid and serious point about the credit card details. I’m glad I took my credit card details off my PSN account. In fact, i now might just buy PSN Store cards from now on just to be on the safe side. I wish I had bought lots of PSN Store cards months ago as amazon were selling £20 PSN Store Cards for a little over £17 !! hadouken!!

      Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:09.
      • shakyhand
        Member
        Since: Nov 2008

        On Thursday when the network went down my PS3 was still on from the night before and I was still signed in to PSN. I thought it was strange that I was the only one signed in out of an almost full friends list. I instantly thought something was up with PSN so I tried to sign in to the PS Store to see if that was working and was greeted with the message “Automatic Funding of Your Wallet Has Failed”, or something similar. Now I’ve never had automatic funding set up, so being the inquisitive fool that I am, I tried the store again and got the same message. I’m trying to be a scaremonger but I really don’t know what to think about that.

        Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:40.
      • teflon
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        I pointed to somewhere selling £25 for £20 somewhere in the forums. Think it was a thread called “Playstation Plus Deal” or something like that.

        Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:41.
      • nofi
        One for all.
        Since: Forever

        @shakyhand – interesting…

        Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:43.
      • shakyhand
        Member
        Since: Nov 2008

        *NOT trying to be a scaremonger. Note to self:never post after a few ciders :p

        Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:44.
      • Tuffcub
        On the naughty step.
        Since: Dec 2008

        Well has anybody logged in to their bank and checked for any PSN payemnets since thursday?

        Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 01:25.
      • cc_star
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Forever

        Wouldn’t make any difference, because if the details were compromised, they’d be sold off to networks of gangs who bide their time & know how to (mis)use them to maximum effect

        Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 01:38.
    • unagii
      Since: Jan 1970

      If someone changed their password, can’t they just click “Forgot Password” and get sent a temp password to their email? lol

      Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 04:00.
    • Mysteryshopper
      Since: Jan 1970

      There is a rather large coincidence between the public release of the Steam link on the PSN (April 19th Portal 2 released allowing PSN users to play online with PC/Mac users) and the beginning of the PSN downtime (April 20th). Does it seem possible that this new feature of PSN which probably involved the addition of a firewall hole to allow the Steam network in might have also let something undesirable in? Does anyone see something there?

      Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 05:28.
  8. PoisonedMonkey
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    I reckon a fuse has gone on the server’s plug. It always takes me days to find a spare 3A fuse in my house…

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:07.
    • heywoodstock
      Member
      Since: Oct 2010

      That had me chuckling, I’m the same.

      Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 00:49.
    • dirtyhabit
      Member
      Since: Forever

      Hair straighteners have 3A fuses…..

      The divorce goes thru next week.

      Comment posted on 24/04/2011 at 11:27.
  9. MrTwP
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Right,
    I had a dream were I got a blackberry but it had a “Hack” button instead of the little green phone button you use to call people, I was on a website and pressed the hack button it came up with a message like “Blackberry does not condemn hacking websites” so I stopped…
    Anyways my dream ended with me running, whilst running taking clothes off (Kind of like forrest gump + the naked mile)

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:11.
  10. iriihutoR48
    Member
    Since: Apr 2011

    I don’t believe Sony would shut down the entire PSN without warning for the sake of a few users having found an exploit to get a few free games. This is something more serious.

    I think for Sony’s sake that they should give out more information since people are worried about their credit cards being compromised.

    I’m playing single player games in the meanwhile and I’m not bothered by the network being down.

    Comment posted on 23/04/2011 at 23:11.

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