Sony is set to compensate customers who have been locked out of the PlayStation Network following the security breach which caused it to be shut down on April 20.

Kaz Hirai, executive deputy president of Sony Corporation, apologised for the problem yesterday saying it was a "highly sophisticated attack by a skilled intruder."

He said customers would receive compensation in the form of free downloadable content and a free subscription to the PlayStation Plus enhanced online premium service.

Hackers have accessed names, addresses, countries, email addresses, birth dates, PSN and Qriocity usernames, passwords and online handles, according to Sony.

The technology company said employees had been "working day and night to restore operations" and that it hoped "to have some services up and running within a week". it is understood the FBI is involved in investigating the source of the breach.

Steps being taken this week include restoring network gameplay including titles requiring online verification and downloaded games, giving access to Music Unlimited, letting users manage their account and reset their passwords, allowing unexpired movie rentals on PS3, PSP and MediaGo to be downloaded and the reactivating PlayStation Home, the Friends List and Chat functionality.

The company has also added automated software monitoring, enhanced data protection and encryption, new firewalls and a better ability to detect software intrusions to help prevent future issues.

Sony says customers will receive a month's free subscription to PlayStation Plus. Existing subscribers to PlayStation Plus and Qriocity will get an extra month of free service.

Analysts see the compensation package as a way of defusing the anger among many users over the delays by the company in admitting credit card details could be among the personal information stolen by hackers.

“This criminal act against our network had a significant impact not only on our consumers, but our entire industry, said Mr Hirai, "These illegal attacks obviously highlight the widespread problem with cyber-security.

"We take the security of our consumers’ information very seriously and are committed to helping our consumers protect their personal data.

"In addition, the organization has worked around the clock to bring these services back online, and are doing so only after we had verified increased levels of security across our networks."

The news comes as Lovefilm reassured customers that their personal details remain safe and secure.

Monthly subscribers to Lovefilm have been unable to stream films to their PlayStation 3 consoles because of the temporary closure of the PlayStation Network.

In an email to customers, the company said: "Please don't worry about the personal details on your Lovefilm account – it is not possible to access these through the PlayStation Network (we hold this information, not Sony), so it all remains completely safe and secure. Even if you used the PS3 to sign-up for Lovefilm, your data is still locked tight in our vaults."