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Sony makes first efforts to get PlayStation Network back online, as rumours surface of new attack this weekend

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The Sony PlayStation store website went back online this morning, while online gaming services are still undergoing maintenance.

According to Netcraft, yesterday Sony began the final stages of testing the new PlayStation Network and Qriocity services to ensure their security before the services are relaunched.

In a letter to users, Sir Howard Stringer, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Sony, reconfirmed the company's commitment to ‘investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber attack'. He said: “We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less.”

He said: “Our investigation is ongoing and we are upgrading our security so that if attacks like this happen again, our defences will be even stronger. In the last few months, Sony has faced a terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But now we are facing a very man-made event – a criminal attack on us and on you — and we are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world to apprehend those responsible.

“In the coming days, we will restore service to the networks and welcome you back to the fun. I wanted to personally reach out and let you know that we are committed to serving you to the very best of our ability, protecting your information better than ever, and getting you back to what you signed up for, all the games and great entertainment experiences that you expect from Sony.”

In a further update, Sony also confirmed that it is offering all US PlayStation Network users one year's free access to an identity protection scheme and for the European region, it is ‘working incredibly hard to offer you something very similar' but cited boundary challenges as a reason for this being ‘a very complicated thing to achieve, but we are close'.

Meanwhile, following a declaration by Anonymous that it was not involved in the second attack on Sony, which may have breached credit card data, it has been suggested that a third attack may be planned on the company.

Anonymous is suspected to have orchestrated a first attack as part of ‘OpSony' where it engaged in ‘standard information war procedures against the corporation and its executives'. In that attack a file was found on the server named ‘Anonymous' with the words ‘we are Legion'.

Kazuo Hirai, Sony Computer Entertainment chairman of the board of directors, suggested that this meant Anonymous was involved in both attacks. Anonymous flatly denied this, saying that it ‘has never been known to have engaged in credit card theft'.

According to CNET, an observer of the Internet Relay Chat channel told it that a third major attack is planned this weekend against the Sony website and the people involved plan to publicise all or some of the information they are able to copy from Sony's servers, which could include customer names, credit card numbers and addresses. The hackers also said that they currently have access to some of Sony's servers.

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