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Freebies offered as PlayStation Network comes back online

The PlayStation Network, which allows PlayStation 3 users to play games online, was restored May 14. The PSN, PlayStation Store and Qriocity network, a music and movie streaming service, were shut down on April 20, after an illegal data breach in PlayStation’s user account information system that occurred between April 17 and 19.

Sony has initiated a “Welcome Back” appreciation program for North America that will give PSN users the opportunity to download free games and receive a free limited subscription to PlayStation Plus.

Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications and social media for Sony, posted a map of the U.S. on the PlayStation blog on Saturday to show where the PSN was being actively restored.

Seybold outlined the program in a blog post on Monday, and the benefits will be available once the PlayStation Store is restored.

Users will be able to choose two of five available PlayStation 3 games, including “Dead Nation,” “Infamous,” “LittleBigPlanet,” “Super Stardust HD” and “WipeOut HD + Fury.”

PlayStation Portable users can choose two of four available PSP games, including “LittleBigPlanet PSP,” “ModNation Racers PSP,” “Pursuit Force” and “Killzone Liberation.”

PSN users also will receive 30 free days of PlayStation Plus, and existing subscribers will receive an extra free 30 days.

Other free content, including music and movie rentals, will be available once the PlayStation store is back up.

Seybold also encouraged PSN users in his Saturday blog post to update their firmware and change their passwords.

However, users cannot log into the PSN through playstation.com and other PlayStation websites to change their passwords, as of Wednesday.

“We temporarily took down the PSN and Qriocity password reset page. Contrary to some reports, there was no hack involved. In the process of resetting of passwords there was a URL exploit that we have subsequently fixed,” Seybold said on the PlayStation blog Wednesday.

However, sites like nyleveia.com, eurogamer.net and pcmag.com have reported the unavailability of the website is a result of hackers using users’ emails and dates of birth to change their PSN passwords.

The hackers are believed to have obtained this user information during the original data breach.

Sony sent an email Wednesday, April 28, to all PSN and Qriocity users stating that the hackers most likely accessed names, addresses, countries, email addresses, birth dates, PSN and Qriocity usernames, passwords and online handles from users.

Ohio State students aren’t too worried about the PlayStation data breaches.

Adam Kavka, a first-year in physics, said he wasn’t worried about the initial data breach.

“A lot of my information is false. I put in a fake birthday because I was 15 at the time,” he said.

Kavka also said he doesn’t think the “Welcome Back” program will smooth things over with users.

“If someone knew your email address and email password, they could get all your other passwords with the ‘forgot your password’ option,” he said.

Brandon Mitchell, a second-year in the Moritz College of Law, said the information breach only affected him because the network is down.

“I keep up with my finances and everything pretty quickly,” he said. “If there was something different, I would know.”

Ryan Gibbons, a second-year in international studies, said he was more productive when the PSN was down, and the “Welcome Back” program will probably be enough to appease users.

“I’m always up for free stuff,” Gibbons said. “Free games, why not?”

The PlayStation Store is expected to be back online by Tuesday.

Sony’s PlayStation representatives did not immediately return request for comment.

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