How Sony Could Have Handled Their PS3 Disaster Better [Game On]
If you don’t have a PlayStation 3 or haven’t heard about the PSN outage I’ll give you a quick recap. Last month Sony’s PlayStation Network servers were compromised, and the PlayStation Network was subsequently taken offline. While we all had a good laugh at Sony’s initial misfortune, as time went on gamers were shocked and furious when the network remained down until … oh that’s right — it’s STILL down nearly a month later with no solid date on when it will be back up . A little system maintenance preventing online play and certain network functions is one thing, but this has escalated into a true catastrophe for Sony as even Congress has called into question Sony’s ability to aptly secure citizens’ personal information.
I’m not here to slam Sony for a poorly architected infrastructure (lest I implicate myself as a suspect), nor am I a member of the entitled masses demanding various forms of compensation, but I would like to illustrate how Sony might have better handled the situation.
For starters a little more expediency might have helped tremendously. Save for some very vague details, Sony initially was not at all forthcoming with information regarding the attacks. It would be one thing if the data at risk had been something less drastic like Trophy records, but what we’re talking about is the personal data and purchasing information of millions of customers. Making matters worse is that shortly after the initial attack that crippled PSN and after they’d released a statement about how they were working closely with a security consultant, a separate attack occurred in which it was confirmed that millions of credit card numbers had DEFINITELY been stolen. Ouch. If something like this should happen again, Sony should make an effort to immediately inform their customers of what they’ve already discerned could be the worst case scenario so that those affected can decide how to proceed.
It also wouldn’t hurt if Sony modified their approach to dealing with piracy. This situation began with Internet hacktivist group Anonymous declaring war on Sony after they had filed suit against PS3 modder George Hotz. The whole ordeal snowballed from there with Anonymous formally launching a denial-of-service attack on Sony and then relenting days later, opting not to allow their punishment of Sony to continue on its user base. Unfortunately, because of the loose structure (or lack thereof) of Anonymous, just because MOST of them agreed with halting the attacks, that doesn’t mean ALL of them felt the same way and for now there’s no telling whether a member of Anonymous was involved or not. However, It would seem to me that if your company has a piracy problem, kicking the proverbial wasp nest may not be the best way to resolve the issue. Rather than looking at a purely legal solution to piracy, which is often perpetuated by the curious, rebellious, and ultimately bright minds responsible for these exploitations, making a peace treaty and trying to learn from them might yield better results. Going on a witch hunt has proven to be largely ineffective for copyright holders in the past and has the unfortunate side effect of raising awareness of piracy to those who might not otherwise pursue it.
Finally, more transparency regarding the service could be helpful for consumers. Not everyone who buys a PlayStation 3 is a tech-savyy consumer and a better understanding of the risks of having your personal information held by an external entity could help mitigate some of this PR Nightmare. Perhaps periodic emails to PSN subscribers explaining how to manage their privacy options and what measures have been taken to protect them. I’m not blaming the users by any means, but Sony does need to be realistic about the risks of its service and educate its users accordingly to the fact that yes, there are bad guys out there. The Internet isn’t a new concept and just like every invention throughout human history there are those who will use it as intended and those who will exploit it.
How do you think Sony could have prevented this or at least mitigated the damage better?
featured image credit: PseudoGil
Sony make.believe.hack credit: StefSOFT