PlayStation 3 system update 3.61 available now, 'phased restoration' of PSN begins today (update)

Ladies and gentlemen, your PS3 may technically be able to connect to PlayStation Network now, but we're not through the woods yet -- today, Sony is issuing a mandatory System Update (v3.61) which will prepare your game machine for that magical day when the company actually throws the switch. In the meanwhile, Sony says the update will prompt you to change your PlayStation Network password, which will likely rank among the easiest decisions that you've ever made.

Update: Sony's just announced that a "phased restoration" of PlayStation Network and Qriocity is beginning today, and that online gaming, Music Unlimited, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and MLB.TV should rolling out right now in Europe and North America. Watch cool cat Kaz Hirai deliver the good news in a video after the break.

Update 2: Sony's got a map of the US up, and will be lighting up individual states -- check out our more coverage link to get a rough idea of when you'll be able to play. The company also says it plans to have PlayStation Network fully functional by the end of May. PR after the break.

Update 3: The restoration is beginning now: we're seeing Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and California. And would you look at that, the southeast just got its due: Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina have PSN too... and as of 10:18PM PST, you can add Delaware, Pennsylvania, both Virginias, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan to that list.

Update 4: Annnnnd we should all be back. Sleep well, PSN users. By the way, Sony Online Entertainment (the MMO division) has a list of the free goodies you'll get for your inconvenience -- read it at the link below.

Update 5: Sony just flipped the international switch -- PSN's rolling out across the world.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

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Restoration of PlayStation®Network and Qriocity Services Begins

Increased Security Measures Implemented Before Service Restoration; Consumer Data Protection a Full-Time, Company-Wide Commitment

TOKYO, May 14, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Sony Corporation and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) announced that Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI, the company) will today begin a phased restoration by region of PlayStation®Network and Qriocity Services. The phased restoration will be on a country by country basis beginning in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Middle East.

The first phase of restored services for these countries and regions will include:

  • Sign-in for PlayStation®Network and Qriocity services, including the resetting of passwords

  • Restoration of online game-play across PS3 and PSP

  • Playback rental video content, if within rental period, of PlayStation Network Video Delivery Service on PS3, PSP and MediaGo

  • Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity, for current subscribers, on PS3 and PC

  • Access to 3rd party services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and

  • 'Friends' category on PS3, including Friends List, Chat Functionality, Trophy Comparison, etc

  • PlayStation Home

  • Increased Security Measures

As the result of a criminal cyber attack on the company's data-center located in San Diego, California, U.S.A., SNEI shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services on April 20, in order for the company to undergo an investigation and make enhancements to the overall security of the network infrastructure. Working closely with several respected outside security firms, the company has implemented new and additional security measures that strengthen safeguards against unauthorized activity, and provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information.

The company has made considerable enhancements to the data security, including updating and adding advanced security technologies, additional software monitoring and penetration and vulnerability testing, and increased levels of encryption and additional firewalls. The company also added a variety of other measures to the network infrastructure including an early-warning system for unusual activity patterns that could signal an attempt to compromise the network.

"I'd like to send my sincere regret for the inconvenience this incident has caused you, and want to thank you all for the kind patience you've shown as we worked through the restoration process," said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. "I can't thank you enough for your patience and support during this time. We know even the most loyal customers have been frustrated by this process and are anxious to use their Sony products and services again. We are taking aggressive action at all levels to address the concerns that were raised by this incident, and are making consumer data protection a full-time, company wide commitment."

"During the past 18 months, we've seen a dramatic rise in the volume of cyber attacks, their sophistication and their impact on businesses. Thwarting cyber-crime requires an evolutionary approach to security that is well integrated, reduces risk exposure and improves efficiencies," said Francis deSouza, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Security Group, Symantec. "Today's cyber crime attacks are proving to be more covert, more targeted and better organized than those we've seen in years past. In working with Sony on the move of their data-center, it's clear they're implementing measures to reduce security risks moving forward."

As an additional measure, Fumiaki Sakai, president of Sony Global Solutions Inc. (SGS), has been appointed acting Chief Information Security Officer of SNEI. In addition to his current role at SGS, Mr. Sakai, in his role at SNEI, will work to further reinforce overall information security across the company's network infrastructure. Mr. Sakai will lead the recruiting effort in finding a new and permanent CISO for SNEI. As CISO, Mr. Sakai will report to Tim Schaaff, president, SNEI, as well as to Mr. Shinji Hasejima, CIO, Sony Corporation.

"While we understand the importance of getting our services back online, we did not rush to do so at the expense of extensively and aggressively testing our enhanced security measures. Our consumers' safety remains our number one priority," Hirai continued. "We want to assure our customers that their personal information is being protected with some of the best security technologies available today, so that everyone can feel comfortable enjoying all that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have to offer."

The restoration of the services across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Middle East are beginning, and consumers will be able to enjoy some of the online functionality provided by both the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. Phased restoration in Japan and other Asian countries and regions will be announced in due course. The company expects to have the services fully restored by the end of May 2011.

The company will be offering customers a "Welcome Back" package of services and premium content to all registered PlayStation Network and Qriocity account services. The details of this program will be announced in each region shortly.

For more information about the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services intrusion and restoration, please visit or