Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

Sony's Security Breach PR Deciphered

If you’re a Sony PlayStation Network/Qriocity customer, I am sorry in advance. This probably isn’t funny. But if you enjoy large organizations getting knocked off their high horses with one swift kick to the shins, read on.

I don’t play video games. I don’t have time, or patience, and the Nintendo 64 was the last console I owned a bajillion years ago. Today, I’m glad of my curmudgeonly ways, because of this total fucking joke from Sony. Let’s try to filter through the plastic PR talk.

Valued PlayStation Network/Qriocity Customer:

Not only are we condescending rake fuckers by actually using the words “valued customer”, but we can’t even come up with interesting brand names. We’re not sure what a Qriocity is, but someone in legal’s freaking out, so there you go.

We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19, 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network. In response to this intrusion, we have:

We think it was the guys from Sneakers. That blind dude was really smart.

Temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services;

We panicked and threw the kill switch. We’re not sure if it worked; SkyNet — sorry, PlayStation Network/Qriocity — is designed to operate without human intervention.

Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened;

We’ve outsourced our entire IT infrastructure to some some wanker in the Philippines and none of the overpaid C-level zombies currently shuffling around our office know what to do. Also, we locked our keys in our car again.

Quickly taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure by re-building our system to provide you with greater protection of your personal information.

We unplugged the router and then plugged it back in again.

We greatly appreciate your patience, understanding and goodwill as we do whatever it takes to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as practicable.

We actually haven’t done anything useful yet except admit that we fucked you so hard that credit agencies are going to be sniffing your panties every time you get within 30 yards of a soda machine. Oh, wait, we haven’t said that yet? To sum it up:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

All of our luggage has the combination of 1-2-3-4-5. We cannot underestimate how inept we are at developing secure environments. We don’t know anything about encryption, hashing or the sloth-level idiocy of storing plain text passwords and credit card numbers, but we’re currently reading this totally sweet article in Smashing Magazine to help. Also, you are so, so, so fucked.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.

We have not actually learned our lesson, and will continue to take your money in exchange for storing your most valuable information in a system with more holes than a lesbian orgy. In addition to changing your password, try unplugging your router.

To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports. We are providing the following information for those who wish to consider it:

See, we’re the good guys! We’re trying to help! Also, the same guy that runs our marketing department runs our PR department and our legal department and our communication department, and he says the best thing you can do at this point is change everything you do in every aspect of your life from here to eternity while we figure out how to wipe our own ass.

We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience. Our teams are working around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible. Sony takes information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that additional measures are taken to protect personally identifiable information. Providing quality and secure entertainment services to our customers is our utmost priority. Please contact us at 1-800-345-7669 should you have any additional questions.

Well, we take it seriously now of course. I mean, before you were just 16 digits of monthly income. But now we care. And we cannot tell you how much this Smashing article is helping. Have you heard of MD5?

Sincerely, Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment

Sincerely, Clueless Ankle Biting Ass Hats

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commentary + criticism


wrote the following on Thursday May 12, 2011

Funny. You’re dead on with your analogies. I don’t play much video but my kids do, so I’m feeling the pain around my shins. Recently found your writing. Like it very much. I also like — check it out, I think you’ll find it satisfying. Keep up the good work, I’ll be reading on.