PlayStation Network Restoration In 'Final Stages' of Testing; Sony Details Free Identity Theft Protection Plan

Expected to return sometime this week, Sony's PlayStation Network is still offline. But a spokesman for the PlayStation maker says the team responsible for reviving online play and other network services to the PlayStation 3 and PSP has reached "an important step towards restoring" online functionality.

"Today our global network and security teams at Sony Network Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment began the final stages of internal testing of the new system," writes Sony Computer Entertainment America's Patrick Seybold on the company's blog. He calls it " an important step towards restoring PlayStation Network and Qriocity services."

"As previously mentioned, we've been working around the clock to rebuild the network and enhance protections of your personal data," Seybold writes. "It's our top priority to ensure your data is safe when you begin using the services again."

There's no new target for the restoration of PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, which have been offline since April 20 after an "external intrusion" into Sony's network forced the company to yank public access. The company announced on Sunday that it would restore "some" PlayStation Network and Qriocity by the end of the week.

Sony also specified its plans to offer complimentary identity theft protection services to PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders. In the United States, Sony plans to offer identity protection firm Debix, Inc.'s "AllClear ID Plus" free to PlayStation Network and Qriocity account holders for 12 months from the time an account holder registers for the program.

Here's what that entails.

  • Cyber monitoring and surveillance of the Internet to detect exposure of an AllClear ID Plus customer's personal information, including monitoring of criminal web sites and data recovered by law enforcement. If his/her personal information is found, the customer will be alerted by phone and/or email and will be provided advice and support regarding protective steps to take. The customer will also receive monthly identity status reports. Debix works with an alliance of cyber-crime experts from the government, academia and industry to provide these services.
  • Priority access to licensed private investigators and identity restoration specialists. If an AllClear ID Plus customer receives an alert, or otherwise suspects that he/she may be the victim of identity theft, the customer can speak directly, on a priority basis, with an on-staff licensed private investigator, who will conduct a comprehensive inquiry. In the case of an identity theft, the customer can work with an identity restoration specialist to contact creditors and others, and take necessary steps to restore the customer's identity.
  • A $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user to provide additional protection in the event that an AllClear ID Plus customer becomes a victim of identity theft. This insurance would provide financial relief of up to $1 million for covered identity restoration costs, legal defense expenses, and lost wages that occur within 12 months after the stolen identity event.

Debix has launched a preliminary landing page for Sony customers, which also lays out AllClear ID Plus services.

Sony says it will begin sending activation e-mails to its customers in the coming days. Similar plans for other territories will be announced soon, the company says. More details on Sony's identity theft protection plans right here.

Important Step for Service Restoration [PlayStation.blog]