PlayStation Network Shoplifting May Have Taken PS3 Offline & Other Less Believable Theories

PlayStation Network Shoplifting May Have Taken PS3 Offline & Other Less Believable Theories

Why is the PlayStation Network still offline? Sony Computer Entertainment America will only cop to an unnervingly vague “external intrusion on our system,” leading those affected by and those taking delight in PSN’s problems to generate their own theories about the disruption that’s now six days old.

Perhaps the best? That custom firmware for the PlayStation 3 opened the network to digital looters who started shoplifting games and downloadable content from Sony’s online store.

That’s the theory floated by a self-described moderator at PSX Scene, a web site dedicated to all things PlayStation. “Ches420” contends on Reddit that Sony pulled the plug on the PlayStation Network after custom firmware for the PS3 enabled users to access the company’s developer-only network.

That, Ches420 believes, turned into “extreme piracy of PSN content” as pirates manipulated faux credit card info to download anything and everything. Rebug’s release at the end of March quickly turned from one more custom firmware option for the PlayStation 3 hacking enthusiast into a free-for-all, he says. Admittedly, it’s just speculation on the part of that PSX Scene moderator, but it’s interesting speculation.

Still, it seems like taking the PlayStation Network offline, keeping PlayStation 3 gamers from playing the recently released SOCOM 4, Mortal Kombat and Portal 2 and curbing days worth of digital sales would make this seem like a more dire situation for Sony.

Other theories about the outage pointed to decentralized hacking group Anonymous, the same group that caused service disruptions earlier this month. However, that attack was more widespread, affecting Sony web sites and the PlayStation Network, and the group has supposedly denied responsibility for the PSN’s recent downtime.

Less credible thoughts on the matter point to Valve’s new presence on the PlayStation Network. Coincidence that Steam support comes to the PS3 just one day before the network goes down? Yeah, probably.

Sony’s still not offering a clear explanation on the PSN outage, nor is providing an ETA for when that service will return.

If you’ve got some theories, no matter how screwball they may be, please let us know in the comments.


  • At the end of the day psn is FREE. These sort of set backs should be expected. I have no issues with Sony, although it does worry me that my credit card information could be compromised. Also I wonder how this sort of thing can happen to a giant global service used by millions of users. I hope Sony don’t rush and quick fix this problem, I want them to take precautions and make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen again. I commend Sony for taking such drastic action and this is proof that they value their cusotmer’s privacy.

    • I paid for PSN when I bought my PS3, and continue to pay for it with each new game I purchase.

      While I don’t pay a monthly fee to use PSN, it certainly costs money to provide and those costs are being covered by the users. While the fee structure differs to Xbox Live, I still consider it to be a service I’ve paid for and expect decent uptime.

      • james… mate if you think you are paying for psn you’re an idiot… the extra $50-$100 you pay for over xbox is for the better system/graphics/interface… as for paying for it with games, i’m pretty sure they’re the same price they were before the psn launched and are the same price when buying them on xbox… wake up to yourself. PSN is a free service and it’s not surprising that this has happened/happens. If anything it’s a good indication of what sony will do (if they are re-building) for something that is…. FREE

    • Unfortunately I don’t believe Sony has taken these drastic actions because they want to, most likely Sony still doesn’t know the extent to which their servers were compromised and are having to rebuild their infrastructure to work around it. It’s also possible that they still don’t know how their systems were compromised; if true then they really have little choice but to stay down until they’ve figured things out as there’s no point in bringing up fresh servers if they’re going to be compromised immediately.

      My sincere sympathies for the guys dealing with this right now, I can speak from experience that this kind of thing is never fun.

    • stop kissing sony butt dan halligan, AT THE END OF THE DAY as you put it Sony sell you an advertised product namely the ps3 with PSN as a selling feature.

  • Could it also be offline because all the staff were off on holidays? The same thing happened when they stuffed up the Monkey Island deal. It couldn’t get fixed for ages because they didn’t have enough staff on around the Christmas break.

  • Psn is down becuase of the amount of security intrusions in past few months. They have ripped the guts out of the psn network and are rebuilding the security from the ground up.
    The tsunami/nuclear disaster is causing issues, power shortages, lack of personnel.
    The hacker community is angry at the court cases that have happened over homebrew/Linux and have attacked the psn network to make sony loose face with its consumers.
    Microsoft did it!

    • tsunami/nuclear disaster, i take it you mean in japan, not USA where Sony entertainment America is dealing with this situation from, and anyway even if it was in Japan big companys like Sony dont fold because one country is on its knees it has back up plans for disasters like this.
      lets move onto the word back up plan, ive worked for a few big companys, none as big as Sony,and they all had continuity plans for the smallest and biggest incidents are you telling me Sony never thought this could happen and if they did where is their master plan, 7 days now come on.

  • I can handle the PSN being offline, I have a few games I haven’t finished yet in single player, what I don’t like is not knowing whether or not my credit card info and identity are safe.

    I do think Sony should consider some sort of compensation for its users. If not all users, perhaps its PS+ subscribers. We actually did pay for a premium service we now can’t use. If you couldn’t use your bank, credit card, phone, internet or other service you paid for you would probably be demanding compensation.

    Thanks to kotaku for keeping us up-to-date 🙂

  • I’m glad you are all so humble about this. And mostly I’m a peaceful, passive guy. But I need to speak up for all of those who are unhappy about the situation. I’m sure there’s a lot of people working to solve the problem- I just hope they get it sorted quickly and learn. If the cyberthief thing is true, thanks a lot you greedy ba… er, un-nice people.

  • but for whatever reason it is…i have a bigger urge to punch Geohot in the face, you just know he’s the reason it happened, directly or indirectly

    • Cyberskunk is most likely the person you want to punch in the face as he is the one who released the debug cfw which allowed people to add fake funds to their account. geohot is all about homebrew and jailbreak and has said he does not support piracy.

  • Im happy to be offline for a relative short term, if it ensures a better online experience long term. More secure, smoother, better performance. Often you dont realise how vulnerable you are until you are attacked, and this seems to apply to #PSNBlackout2011.

    Oh, and for people who have issue with calling PSN ‘free’- how about “fully subsidised online experience”? But please dont claim to be ‘paying’ for PSN because you were charged more for a superior piece of hardware, and also (strangely) pay the SAME AMOUNT for a (generally) better version of the same game that you would pay on Xbox. Or do you see the 3disc Final Fantasy as better value than the BluRay?

    On a side note, it was only 2 yrs ago that Valve were complaining about dev costs for making games on Ps3. And now we have a Steam Overlay that we dont have access to. How times change.

  • i hope its only the ps3 users that have been hacking,modding,challenge lobbying or whatever these geeks call it that have had their card details stolen, would it all be funny then.
    sony look stupid they cant even take on geo hot stuff and his smelly spotty mates from hicksville.
    give geo a call i bet he can fix it.
    I heard the boys at microsoft are laughing with butt gas.

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