6 important things about the ongoing PlayStation Network outage that Sony won't reveal

Summary:Although Amazon had a historically bad outage at about the same time, Amazon kept up a running commentary with its customers. As far as we can tell, Sony has not.

"Honey, if you keep playing Infamous, you won't be able to get up in the morning!"

That was me, reminding my wife that we had an early appointment. I'm one of those very lucky geeks who has a wife who's kind, pretty, and likes video games.

See also: Sony PlayStation Network downtime continues; personal data in jeopardy?

See also: Sony PlayStation Network still down after three days

Denise especially likes games on the PS3. For some reason, she's shunned the Xbox 360 and only sometimes (usually when a new Mario comes out) acknowledges the little Wii's bare and unloved existence.

She is all about the Playstation 3. She even has her own controller. It's silver and it's not to be touched by "boy hands".

Fortunately, Denise likes single-player games, or she'd have been distraught about the ongoing Playstation Network outage, now entering Day Six.

She is, however, deeply concerned that her trophies won't update, but I've promised (and hope it's a promise I can keep) that when PSN comes back to life, all the trophies will sync up.

Sony has been disturbingly non-forthcoming. Here are 6 things about the Playstation outage that Sony isn't sharing with customers:

1. Has credit card and financial data been compromised?

This is the big one. Sony hasn't indicated what problems they're facing, and all we have to go on is this statement from the Sony blog:

I know you are waiting for additional information on when PlayStation Network and Qriocity services will be online. Unfortunately, I don’t have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time.

As we previously noted, this is a time intensive process and we’re working to get them back online quickly. We’ll keep you updated with information as it becomes available. We once again thank you for your patience.

2. What actually was the nature of the outage?

Was this an external attack, as BetaNews seemed to imply, or was it something having to do with their infrastructure?

3. What backup and archiving practices are in place at PSN?

Does this outage represent a problem that spans backup history, or is this a current situation where the worst case is they shut everything down and reload from backups?

4. If this is hack-based, have you notified any of your partner companies, who may have information stored on your network?

Sony, like Microsoft, offers a lot of downloadable titles and works with partner companies. At the very least, these partner companies have to load their games onto PSN. But beyond that, are there any network compromises that may filter into the hundreds of partner companies and are they being kept in the loop so they can protect themselves and others?

5. What about shared game data?

There are probably millions of Little Big Planet and LBP2 game shares online. Are those all backed up and secured, or do customers have a chance of losing their cherished more-jumpy-less-thinkie game?

6. What about trophies?

This one's for Denise and all the other Denises out there. Once PSN gets back online, will trophies sync back up?

Final thoughts

Anyone who's been in the tech community long enough understands that bleep happens. The main issue here with PSN and Sony is the lack of transparency.

See also: Seven lessons to learn from Amazon's outage

See also: Amazon Web Services outage: 'Detailed post mortem' coming

Although Amazon had a historically bad outage at about the same time, Amazon kept up a running commentary with its customers. As far as we can tell, Sony has not.

Point to Amazon.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Hardware, Networking, Outage

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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