Gamers are in uproar today as the Playstation Network – the gaming platform which allows Sony PS3 owners to play their games online – stretches into its sixth day of downtime with no official word as to when it might be back up.

Sony pulled the plug on the network last Wednesday citing an “external intrusion” as the reason and claiming that they have had to “rebuild” it from the damage. Some initial speculation claimed that hacker group Anonymous may have been responsible (which they have repeatedly denied), but more recent discussions on gaming forums and blogs suggests that Sony may have turned off the network themselves after it was discovered that a custom firmware was available there which turned the PS3 into a debug unit and allowed users to pirate games.

Whatever the real reason, the network remains down which can’t have helped Sony considering the four day weekend the UK has just had and the worldwide release of Portal 2 and the new Mortal Kombat game. Here’s hoping the Playstation Network is back up soon.

UPDATE 27/04/11 8:05am:

As of this morning, the Playstation Network is still down, but the PS3 official blog has made possibly the worst announcement they could: user data including credit card details has been compromised. The blog post, which can be read here featured the following statement:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained.

The bottom line is – if you own a PS3 and use it online, go read that blog post and make sure that you check all your information. ID theft is not fun, kids. Stay safe on those webtarnets!