The PSN Hack: what could have been done differently?

Logo of the PlayStation Network
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Sony took a lot of heat during the PSN outage caused by a hack and the theft of potentially all of our PSN account and more importantly payment card details. I think Sony were unlucky to a large degree. They were right to defend themselves against the hacker George Hotz who published details on how to hack the system which could lead to pirating games.

Sony perhaps didn’t have the most robust security measures in place and as such they were apparently pretty easy pray for angry hackers with a lot of misguided talent. It’s a shame that these people can’t do something more constructive with their technical abilities and instead choose to attack a company that is only doing what it is completely entitled to do, protect it’s intellectual property. I don’t buy the hacker’s claims that they should be able to do whatever they want to the PS3’s that they own. Sony have a fair use policy and they have a right to enforce that to protect their business.

I think the main anger from fans towards Sony was because they appeared to not rush to warn people about data possibly being stolen. Many believe that they should have warned people straight away even if they weren’t sure anything had been taken, just to be on the safe side. I agree with this and I think Sony did make an error here, but as I’m not really one to hold long term grudges on brands I wouldn’t threaten to switch to Xbox or boycott Sony products for example like some people did.

All you can really do is just hope that they really have beefed up their security to an extent where we won’t have a repeat of this scenario again in the future. I’m not going to switch to using PSN cards to pay for PSN content because of this, but I can understand why a lot of people may choose to do so.

This whole fiasco becoming mainstream news has got to be damaging to Sony. All a lot of people will see is that Sony have been hacked and lost people’s private data. A lot of these people may not have ever owned a Playstation, but they may still be put off from buying a Sony TV down the line. You’ve got to hope that this isn’t the popular opinion, because Sony certainly don’t deserve that.

This type of hacking is in vogue at the moment you could say. We’ve seen numerous hacks on almost a daily basis on all kinds of websites. From game developers to news sites and more, it appears that no one is safe. In a way, this just validates Sony and just shows that no matter how much time you spend defending yourselves against data theft, it seems that no company can avoid being breached. If a hacker group wants to do something, then it seems like not much can stop them. This is probably why Microsoft didn’t make fun of Sony at the conference, because they know that it would be like showing a red cape to a bull and making themselves the next prime target.


Playstation Plus Update: Online Save Backup

PlayStation Plus logo
Image via Wikipedia

This was something I was hoping would happen for quite some time. I lost all of my saves when our PS3 broke just as I was transferring out data across to our new one, as we knew the original was on its last legs. A service like this would have been great for me back then.

Even now I would this. The problem is that I’m not a plus member, my brother is. He probably wouldn’t benefit as much as me from this service. He doesn’t play a lot of single player games. Most of the games he plays are online and save data remotely anyway.

All of the Plus content except anything transferred to PSP can be played on other accounts on the same PS3 as a plus member. Therefore, it hardly seems worth it for me to pay a £40 subscription just to be able to play minis and PSOne classics on my PSP (when I can play them on PS3 already if I wanted to), back up my saves and have a gold plus next to my PSN name.

Not only this, but the save backup service is very low tech. In a perfect product, you would expect it to automatically upload the updated save to the cloud after every play session ends, and always keep the most recent version synced between the cloud and the system itself. Maybe it could even keep a backup of previous versions so that you could revert to them if your current save gets corrupted. It doesn’t do any of these things, and just allows you to manually upload each save individually, similar to how I used to transfer my assignment documents between home and college using either email or a USB stick.

Those things wouldn’t be easy to add in to an existing product like the PS3 so there’s no real argument to be made. I don’t understand however why there isn’t an option to select multiple saves and upload them in batches as opposed to one at a time. It seems too time consuming and not streamlined enough.

All things considered, this is a nice addition to Playstation Plus. It doesn’t cost any extra and the service was already a fairly good deal before this update, especially if you never downloaded a lot of PSN games before. I’m not sure what they could do to make me want to pay for the service. I would assume quite a lot considering that I can already play the content my brother is paying for, but I’m sure there’s something cool they could do to tempt me. I just can’t think of what it would entail.