Sony's PR Failure: The PlayStation Network Hack

I'm a gamer. That's no secret. I'm currently on the PlayStation Network (PSN) and have thought about going to Xbox as well. With kids, family and work obligations, it's hard to get in the gaming time I really want, but that's ok with me. I manage. 

So when I fired up the PS3 about a week ago and I couldn't log in, I thought it was an authentication problem. That was Saturday before Easter. Then on Easter, my nephew was complaining that he couldn't get on either. Since I was off the interwebs that weekend, I hadn't realize that the PSN had been hacked and Sony, as a result, shut it down.

After a few more days, nothing changed. Rumors were flying all around the web without an official statement from the technology giant. Then, about a week later, I received an email from PSN stating that the service was shut down because of a cyber attack. The announcement let me know that my data was compromised, including my name, address and maybe my credit card number. 

Of course, I became concerned and immediately took action to protect myself online. 

What really pissed me off was the fact that it took nearly a week for the company to alert its user-base about the issue. There was no follow-up information, only rumors online and eventually, in the mainstream media.

Now, this situation might get PSNers to move to Xbox. They want reliability and they want to know that their data is secure. As a communications professional, I'm appauled at the lack of information and transparency surrounding this data breach. Sensisitve information and all we users got was a, "Yep, the rumors are true. We got hacked. Our bad. We'll try and get things up and running soon. And oh, by the way, check your credit card because the hackers might have gotten that info too."

The note wasn't comforting. I didn't feel that there was any remorse or apology behind it. Just a cold communication that made the company look worse in terms of reputation. You'd assume that a company the size of Sony would have a strong PR team in place to address any and all crisis situations. This was a crisis of major proportions and in my opinion, the company failed miserably. 

The PSN is still offline and rumor has it that it'll be up and running this week

We'll see about that. More importantly, we'll see if Sony does any follow-up with its users to give them a full explanation of what happened, what they did to fix it and what they are doing in the future to protect our data.