PlayStation Network HackAbout a week ago I wrapped up my work day, powered up my PS3 and settled in for a game of Call of Duty. But to my irritation all I got was an error message. Seems I wasn’t the only person with this problem. Turns out Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts were hacked.

Thank you for your patience while we work to resolve the current outage of PlayStation Network & Qriocity services. We are currently working to send a similar message to the one below via email to all of our registered account holders regarding a compromise of personal information as a result of an illegal intrusion on our systems. These malicious actions have also had an impact on your ability to enjoy the services provided by PlayStation Network and Qriocity including online gaming and online access to music, movies, sports and TV shows.

This announcement, which came out Tuesday, had people asking what companies can do to stop these types of security breaches. As someone in the marketing world, I was asking what the heck was their PR department doing?!

It was a weak announcement trying to downplay the big issue – users personal information such as names, home addresses, e-mail addresses, birth dates and passwords were stolen. Credit card info too? Um, Sony isn’t sure. And while the company says it has a “clear path” to getting the networks back online, some users and vowing to abandon ship permanently.

I always advise my clients to first gather information, get their facts straight and be honest with their audience. However, I also advise that them time is of the essence. At some point the best statement is “we’re not exactly sure what happened… but we’re doing everything we can.”

A week of communication silence allowed consumers to draw their own conclusions and media outlets to add fuel to the fire. Sony completely missed the opportunity to control the situation. Instead of the public being angry at the hackers for ruining their game play, a class action lawsuit has been filed. For a company that large, they should have been versed in Crisis PR 101.