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Sony's Woes Continue: SOE Hacked Too

News; May. 3, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Robert F. Ludwick
Subtypes: News
Sony Online Entertainment also target of cyber attacks

In another discouraging development for Sony regarding its online security, Sony Online Entertainment confirmed it was also the recipient of a cyber attack on its network. Early yesterday, May 2, 2011, SOE shut down its servers in much the same manner as when Sony shut down the PlayStation Network when it first learned of the hacking attack against that network.

Sony Online Entertainment

Sony confirmed that the SOE network, while separate from the PSN, suffered a similar breach of data. Sony utilizes similar architecture and technology across its networks, and it appears that the intrusion at SOE was similar to the intrusion within the PSN. Sony believes the data breach happened as part of the original data breach that brought the PSN down.

"This information, which was discovered by engineers and security consultants reviewing SOE systems, showed that personal information from approximately 24.6 million SOE accounts may have been stolen, as well as certain information from an outdated database from 2007," SOE said in a statement.

"The information from the outdated database that may have been stolen includes approximately 12,700 non-U.S. credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes), and about 10,700 direct debit records of certain customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain."

It is possible the hackers gained access to the personal information of the aforementioned 24.6 million accounts, which includes names, addresses, email addresses, birthdates and more. The information possibly gleaned from the credit and debit card numbers includes everything but the card code, which online vendors are not allowed to store. Hashed passwords were likely available for the hackers to steal as well, which operate in one direction and are not easily reversible to the original password. SOE noted on its website that it does not believe its main database was compromised, only an outdated database.

In light of these recent network intrusions, all gamers who have used Sony networks are advised to monitor their credit and to change their passwords as precautions. One can only hope that SOE's network returns to functionality faster than the PSN, which has been restoring services slowly.

SOE has stated that it will give away 30 days of free time to current customers' accounts. Additionally, for all of the time the SOE network is unavailable, the company will add the same amount to the base 30 days, meaning a 10-day outage would be 40 free days for all SOE customers.