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By 3 May 2011 | Categories: news

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With the breach of the PlayStation Network late last month knocking out Sony's PlayStation 3 game servers, the company has continued to suffer from hacker attacks, with Sony announcing yesterday that another branch, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), had also been compromised.

SOE is a subsidiary of Sony based in San Diego and is tasked with developing massively multiplayer online games (MMO's). Among SOE's titles are the popular Everquest and DC Universe Online.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest attacks have compromised personal information for as many as 24.6 million customer accounts. The attack, which was discovered by engineers yesterday, is believed to have been initially launched in conjunction with the earlier April 16 and 17 attacks on the PSN which compromised the data of as many as 77 million users.

In a press release Sony stated that stolen personal information could include a user's name, home address, email address, gender, birth date, phone number, login name and hashed password.

The company also said that there was no evidence of a breach in its main credit card database, but that some credit card and bank account details stored in an “outdated database from 2007” had been compromised.

This includes credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not security codes) for 12 700 non-US customers and about 10 700 direct debit records. These records apparently list bank account numbers of customers in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Spain.

All SOE servers were shut down immediately after the breach was discovered, and remained so as of the time of writing.

With both the PlayStation Network and SOE down at the moment, Sony's gaming division is scrambling to plug breaches left and right, with gamers undoubtedly growing more sour by the day. The company has announced that it will be extending a goodwill package to PSN and SOE users affected by the outages, including 30 days of free play plus one day extra for each day the servers remain down.

A lawsuit has already been filed against Sony in the US, with a plaintive in California accusing the company of, “not taking reasonable care to protect, encrypt and secure the private and sensitive data of its users.” 

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