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Mon 2 May 2011 01:01 PM

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PlayStation back online in Middle East ‘within week’

Gaming network was pulled last month after hackers stole credit card details, data on online users

PlayStation back online in Middle East ‘within week’
Sonys delay in announcing the theft sparked an online furor from users, almost 90 percent of whom are based in Europe or the US

Sony said PlayStation services in the Middle East will be up
and running “within the week” after hackers stole personal information belonging
to more than 1 million user accounts in the region.

The Japanese computer giant will begin a “phased restoration
by region” of its network, beginning with gaming, music and video services.

“[We have] conducted extensive tests to verify the security strength
of PlayStation Network,” the company said in a statement.

Sony made its first public apology for the security breach
at a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday, after admitting it had delayed
informing users about the intrusion.

“We apologise deeply for causing great unease and trouble to
our users," Kazuo Hirai, Sony's number two said during a lengthy news

An estimated 1,093,000 account holders in the Middle East
may have been affected by the hack, one of the largest internet security
breaches on record.

Sony told Arabian Business last week that credit card
details, names and addresses of some 27,000 gamers in the region may have stolen.
The online network has details of around 14,000 credit card holders in the UAE,
12,500 in Saudi Arabia and 500 in Kuwait.

Many gamers used pre-paid PSN cards rather than credit cards
to access the service.

Sony’s largest Middle East market is Saudi Arabia, with
650,000 users. The UAE is Sony’s second largest market, with 250,000 account
holders, followed by Kuwait (90,000), Qatar (46,000), Bahrain (26,000), Lebanon
(21,000) and Oman (10,000).

Japanese electronics giant Sony pulled the plug on the
network on April 19 after identifying a breach in its popular PlayStation
Network, a service that produces an estimated $500m in annual revenues.

The warning that user credit card information might have
been stolen also came just hours after Sony unveiled its first tablet computers
at an event where executives made no mention of the PlayStation breach.

The news sparked thousands of comments on the official
PlayStation fan page on Facebook, some of them from users who said they would
switch to Microsoft's Xbox Live games network.

Sony said it would offer some free content, including 30
days of free membership to a premium service to existing users and in some
regions pay credit card renewal fees.

It said compensation would only be paid if users suffered
damage. Sony did not elaborate except to say there was no evidence that credit
card details had actually been stolen. It has confirmed the theft of names and

The incident has also sparked legal action and
investigations by authorities in North America and Europe, home to almost 90
percent of the users of the network, which enables gamers to download software
and compete with other members.

For all the latest mobile phone news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
grimreaper 8 years ago

pls, be fast because i really want to play online and you guys must be carefull next time with the security

Stan 8 years ago

I want me some compensation.