Sunday Thoughts: Moving On

Today saw Sony Computer Entertainment begin the long and arduous process of rebuilding their customer’s faith. The PSN hack and subsequent down time has, regardless of what some would wish to believe, been an egregious mess of PR for the company. That press conference this morning began to set the company’s relationship with its consumers back on track.

For me, the most impressive thing about SCE’s conference today was the humility on show. I think that’s what I wanted more than any tokenism of compensation or assurances of beefed up security measures. After all, it really doesn’t matter to me personally if SCE promise that my details will be safe next month. The unfortunate fact is that they weren’t safe last month. No assurances for the future can change what happened in the past. Any promise of extra security is, using the tiring expression, locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Of course, there will always be the drum banging of the faithful tribe but I really can’t see any excuse for how our data was kept. You might say it wasn’t SCE’s fault because they didn’t ask to be hacked. There is certainly some truth in that but when we divulged our data to SCE, we were trusting them to look after it. Make all the excuses you want but the fact remains that we trusted them with something precious and they lost it.

Others may attempt to defend the loss by saying that other companies store data in a similar way so it could have happened to any one of them. That may also be true but it is completely irrelevant to the issue. The data we trusted in SCE’s hands was lost. If it had happened to any other company I would be just as annoyed and I sincerely hope that this fiasco will prompt anybody who stores our data to reevaluate their processes and take measures to ensure that this is as unlikely as possible to happen to them.

The question isn’t whether SCE did enough to keep our data safe (clearly the answer to that one is “no”). The question isn’t even whether they did anything less than other companies do with similar data. The question is: could they have done more? If the answer to that is “yes” then I think they sold their customers short. Judging from the ashen complexions and grave expressions on the faces of those apologising this morning, so do they.

It’s certainly true that SCE do not deserve to stand alone in shouldering the blame for this problem. Let’s not forget that any precious thing is perfectly safe as long as nobody is looking for it. Without the hacker, we wouldn’t have the problem. So it’s perfectly reasonable to want to level some blame in the direction of the person or persons who actually climbed in through the window and took the plate of cookies. But that doesn’t absolve SCE of the responsibility for making sure the window was locked properly.

I think that what the press conference held in Japan today proved was that SCE know they’re largely to blame for the loss and ensuing media furore. Despite what a small hardcore of fans have been attempting to claim around the internet, SCE admit that it’s their fault. For me, this is much more important than giving me some free store content. A genuine, honest apology was all I needed from the outset. Now they’ve offered one, I can happily forgive the issue and move on to rebuilding my own personal trust in the company.

The loss of data is upsetting but there is no system that is 100 percent secure. It is blatantly obvious that SCE wouldn’t have wished for this but it happened. The important thing is how it’s dealt with.

For the first week of the downtime I don’t think it was dealt with well at all. Several blog posts which all said essentially the same thing and even what they did divulge was very little. I was frustrated that a large company, so reliant on a faithful fan base, could be so opaque. I think the lack of communication only served to feed the rumours that people had no choice but to consider plausible – in varying degrees – simply because nobody was denying them and there was no concrete proof that they were incorrect.

The start of the second week wasn’t much more enlightening, although a slightly more detailed response was issued. It was still personally frustrating to see a company I admire being so closed to the fears of its customers. To my mind, that changed with today’s press conference. I would personally have been much more relaxed if SCE had come out a week ago and said “yes, we messed up a bit and we’re doing everything we can to find out exactly how badly. Sorry about that”. I could have forgiven the transgression immediately if they’d been a little more communicative and humble. Now they have held their hands up and apologised for the incident, I have no qualms in offering them my full support (such as it is).

Of course, the incident did still happen and attempting to ignore that would be profoundly foolish. SCE are not going to try ignoring it. There’ll be no papering over the cracks from them as they endeavour to show their existing and potential customers that theirs are safe hands once again. I believe that as responsible consumers, we have to take a small portion of blame for the loss of data too. Are we too quick to assume trustworthiness? We should certainly all use the incident to assess our own habits with our data and evaluate whether there’s anything more we can do to keep ourselves more secure.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter that the incident occurred. What is done, is done. The horse is in the fields. All we can do now is attempt to ensure a more secure stable in the future. Oh, and look forward to Portal 2 online co-op, of course…

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81 Comments

  1. but Sony ow me everything? How can they make me believe in them? Can someone help me put my toys back in my pram. Lol

    Very good report very good read. Roll on the killzone online carnage!!!

    • Damn right fatty, campaign was off the hook, cant wait to get online and kick some ass.

      • Can’t fookin wait!!! Lol

        But seriously though…. I might sue Sony for not loosing my bank details! Seriously, I still can’t believe how they have treated me I’m soooo upset!! :( honestly they’ve treated me like a rag doll, I mean 12 days without PSN that I don’t pay any money for how can they do it to me!? There gonna have go buy me like 10 dozen roses a pony and take me on a romantic weekend to Rome to help me build my trust up with them. How dare they cancel PSN to rebuild the security.

        Tut tut tut

      • @fattyuk

        lol

      • me 2 wots ur online name

  2. Live and learn. Happy Sunday tea. Got some bargains from meadowhall so all in all a good day ;-)

    • medowhall dont you mean meadowhell its crazy in the on a weekend people taking bits out my legs with there prams just pure madness mate

      • I have no tolerance so that never seems to happen. if a dude did run me over with a pram, bbc news would cut into your show with a news just in, Thor style disruption by chap knows online as foxhoundsolid, the moves would mirror evil ryus lol serious though its like reading the road, pretty easy to day o of the way of the chav chariots…..

      • *stay out of the way

  3. I’m also looking forward to Portal 2 – and other stuff – online. All I need is the friend who’s threatening to buy it to come back from his biking holiday in Scotland to actually buy the game… Lucky bugger, he’s missing all the hoohah and just coming back (Thursday) to reap the benefits! It’s nice to have outside interests instead of just PS3 stuff…

  4. Good point, put forward well. I thought the apology was very humbling and to be honest I think their compensation ideas go far and beyond what I was expecting from them. Lets just move on from this and hope we now have a better PSN service than what we had before :)

  5. I <3 you Sony! *weeps*

    • There,there Mike.*pats Mike on the back*Sony will make it all better.

    • Oh and also, if anyone uses the horse analogy one more time, I’ll shoot the f**kin’ thing ;)

      • THANK YOU!!!

        was thinking that the other day, If I read “Horse”, “Gate” or “Bolt” in any fecking order one more time…

      • But what if the horse buys a second hand car?

  6. I hope this serves as a reminder that nothing is unhackable.Let’s moveon and have a nice cup of tea with some biscuits. Provided that they have not been stolen.;). I have two weeks worth of pumping to catch up on.:P

    • Two weeks of errr… what?

      • Uncharted 2 taunt,the regulars of the TSA meet will get it.I can still outpump you Aqua!:OP

      • Oh no you can’t…
        *challenge accepted*

      • I shall pump you to an inch of your life sir*slaps aqua with his pumping glove*let’s take this convo over to twitter.:)

      • I was pumped within an inch of my life once. Both the best and worst time of my life.

    • i guess it’s down to an individuals diet.

  7. Hakuna Matata.

    • I have that actual game – bought on import – but it won’t give me trophies, presumably because I’m based in England.

      It’s nice to get back to non-PSN-offline/hacked stuff for a change…

      • Wait, there’s a ps3 Lion King game….??

      • You might know it as Afrika.

  8. Nice to see a bit of humility from a big company like Sony.

    Looking forward to the getting back online and the rewards for waiting.

  9. “Hey we’ve lost all your personal details but its ok because we’ll give you some naff games to make up for it”. Sorry Sony, you’re dead to me. Jog on.

    • fell soory for you then as you wonät be abel to enjoy games as Uncharted 3,Last Guardian, infamous2,Resistance 3,Twisted Metal and many more exklusive games.

      • gives it a bit of perspective imo.

    • They didn’t lose them, they were stolen.

      When someone gets mugged or burgled, they don’t say ‘I lost all my money/stuff’ do they?

      • Same thing as far as I’m concerned. Speaking as someone who works in IT for a large company, I understand that no matter how cautious you are your data is always under threat, however the Incompetent idiots didn’t even encrypt our data, which just shows how unprofessional they are as a company. I’ll still use my PS3 for their great exclusives coming up, but I will be cancelling my online account as soon as I can

      • @uuuhh
        Depends how much of a ‘fight’ Sony put up.

        Everything they’ve said they’ll introduce sounds like it will put up one hell of a fight in future, but why it wasn’t there as standard, as its all industry best practice is beyond me.

      • and I guess you could call the old lady getting mugged in the street an incompetent idiot for not hiring a squad of mercenaries to accompany her to ASDA? Each to their own I guess.

      • I take what you are saying but we aren’t talking about an old lady are we? :P Instead we are talking about a company who we trusted with our personal information in the same way that we trust amazon, play, and so on. Whilst I completely understand the hackers are the main villians here, this whole ordeal has shown how below par Sony are when it comes to data protection/encryption, which is simply unacceptable for a company of their size.

      • @R4U Eldave0 you do no the the pentagon was hacked?

      • Still doesn’t make it ok :P

      • it gives it some perspective I feel.

    • wrong comment^ sorry.

      • above is the right place call it a night lol.

  10. As I mentioned elsewhere, the apology and the sincerity of it, is everything for me in Sony laying the first brick in the road to redemption. I care little about freebies or good will gestures, but ID Protection plans hinted at in the Japanese transcript are IMO essential and would draw the line under their probable shortcomings, oversights and inherited indifference.

    Been a huge learning point for me too, on the dangers of having an email address for everything, having a single username across the most of the internet (this username can linked be linked to my address, possible passwords & security questions), having a strong & different password for various sites (I did it sometimes anyway, now I’m going to do it always) and being even more careful over who I do business with.

    Hopefully soon my Warhawk machine is back in action, there’s only so much time I can spend with my family ;)

    • Same username across t’internet – ouch, now i can understand a little why you may have been so upset. ;)
      I use an individually modified version of my username for anything game related, and completely unique ones for anything where actual personal details would be required, such as ebay etc.
      As careful as i have been though, i’m also going to be much more cautious in future.

      • Wait a sec, same Username? I didn’t think about that… I’ve been so conscious about having different passwords, It didn’t occur to me to think about my username…. Guess I’ve gotta cheeck ’em all again!
        But generally, I hope lessons have now been learned, this can be put behind us and things can get back to normal (which probably means the same old moans about the same old X-game chat issues….groan)…. the grass is always greener….

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