Sony settles lawsuit over account information theft in 2011

Sony has settled a class action lawsuit that related to the outage of the PlayStation Network and the theft of account information from Sony in 2011. The settlement orders Sony to offer those who did not take part in the “Welcome Back” offer in May of 2011 are entitled  to choose two of either a free game, a free theme or a three month PlayStation Plus subscription. Those who did take part in the offer will be able to claim one of the previous options. However, the PlayStation Plus subscription option is only available to those who are not already a member of the service.

Qriocity subscribers who did not have a PSN account at the time of the outage are also entitled to receive a month of the Music Unlimited service for free. This usually costs $4.99. Those claiming for an SOE account will be able to receive $4.50 worth of “station cash” in their account. All of the previous benefits are only open to account holders in the US who registered before May 15, 2011.

The lawsuit came in response to the outage of the PlayStation Network in 2011, due to what Sony explained was an “external intrusion”. The company confirmed that account information from PSN and Qriocity accounts, such as billing information, names, passwords and addresses, had been stolen between April 17 and April 19. Sony then shut down the PlayStation Network to prevent further attacks and fix the problems. The outage lasted 24 days in total. With over 77 million accounts registered on the PlayStation Network, the security breach was one of the biggest thefts of data in history.

In response to the attack, Sony offered a “Welcome Back” program when the PlayStation Network was back online. This offered players a free PlayStation 3 game, a free PSP Game, 30 days free of PlayStation Plus and a one-year subscription to an identity theft protection service. The “Welcome Back” offer was not due to a court order or settlement, but rather a courtesy from Sony to apologize for the outage and theft.