Technology giant Sony is to introduce two-factor authentication to the PlayStation Network in order to improve security.
Users have been calling for security updates for some time, and Sony has confirmed that it would make the change. “In order to further safeguard our users and their accounts, we are preparing to offer a 2-step verification feature,” a Sony representative said.
Two-factor authentication coming to PlayStation Network
The spokesperson did not say exactly when the feature would be introduced, only that “more details will be shared at a later date.” News of the update came about after Sony updated the PS3’s firmware to version 4.80 yesterday, and users noticed that two-step verification was mentioned if they entered incorrect login information.
The feature isn’t currently available on PlayStation Network accounts. The network is used by gamers across PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, the web, the PlayStation mobile app and the PlayStation Portable.
Sony will soon make users provide two different pieces of information when logging into a service, hence the two-factor verification moniker. This usually means “something you know,” like your login details, as well as a unique piece of information such as a code sent to your phone.
Five year anniversary of huge hack this week
Assuming you enter the correct name and password, you will be asked to enter the second code. The addition of a second step makes online services far more secure. A hacker would have to know your login details and physically have your phone in order to gain access to your account.
The introduction of two-factor authentication has taken a long time for Sony. Five years ago a major hack of the service took place, forcing the company to shut down the network after personal information from some 77 million accounts was potentially exposed.
The PlayStation Network was offline for 23 days while the hack was investigated. Sony then rebuilt the network before bringing it online. In contrast major rival Microsoft introduced two-factor authentication three years ago.
Sony and Microsoft working on upgraded consoles
The two technology companies continue to battle it out in the console market. The Sony PlayStation 4 has sold around double the amount of units as the Microsoft Xbox One, and has outsold its rival in 13 of the last 15 months.
Both companies are apparently working on upgraded versions of their consoles. The PlayStation 4.5, as it has been dubbed, will reportedly be capable of producing 4K video. In order to do so there will have to be some serious hardware upgrades in order to keep gameplay as smooth as possible.
On the other hand Microsoft has been more mysterious about its plans, with top executives declaring that they were not interested in releasing an “Xbox one and a half.” However it looks like this may have just been a bluff from the company.
FCC filings reveal that Microsoft is working on new wireless chips which could point to two new versions of the console. Fans of the Xbox One should keep their eyes out for the latest news from the Microsoft E3 conference, which is set to take place in Los Angeles in June.
Sony has a commanding lead over Microsoft in terms of sales, but it is curious that the company has only just decided to improve security for the PlayStation Network. For a service with a checkered history when it comes to security, you would have thought that Sony would have been doing all they could to reassure users. Still, better late than never.