Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) hack confirmed

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) hack confirmed

Sony CEO Howard Stringer faced harsh criticism of his leadership after the consumer electronics conglomerate revealed hackers may have stolen the data of another 25 million accounts in a second massive security breach. It wasn’t a second attack, so much as a second breach that occurred during the original attack between April 17th and 19th, when it’s thought data thieves pilfered unencrypted personal info (but not credit card numbers) from upwards of 77 million members.

Last night, SOE gamers were greeting with the news that SOE was not spared from the original intrusion that brought down the PlayStation Network. Sony warns that the personal information gamers provided SOE, including name, address, email address, gender, birthdate and phone number have been compromised. Even worse, users login and password information was obtained, which is pretty terrible in general, but worse for SOE gamers because SOE is a network of online, persistent games, such as the legendary Everquest, and a hacked account allows the potential for someone’s hard, grindy work to be ruined.

The Sony Online Entertainment network, used for massively multiplayer online games like EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies and Matrix Online, has been suspended temporarily, Sony said Monday. Add this to the 77 million accounts that may have been compromised last week, and Sony is responsible for one of the largest recorded data breaches. The entertainment network is separate from the PlayStation Network but both hacks have similar traits, said Mai Hora, a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment in Tokyo.

“The way Sony handled the whole thing goes to show that it lacks the ability to manage crises,” said Michael On, a fund manager at Beyond Asset Management in Taipei, who does not own Sony shares. “The current CEO should step down after the hacker problems and the company’s failure to push out products that are competitive.”

The stolen outdated credit card information isn’t where the bad news ends, as Sony released new information this morning regarding the hack, and have warned us that 24.6 million accounts may have been stolen, in addition to everything previously reported, though that isn’t set in stone as of yet.

The PlayStation network lets video game console owners download games and play against friends. The Sony Online Entertainment network, the victim of the latest break-in, hosts games such as “EverQuest” played over the Internet on PCs. Sony said late on Monday that the names, addresses, e-mails, birthdates, phone numbers and other information from 24.6 million PC games accounts may have been stolen from its servers as well as an “outdated database” from 2007.

Sony executives apologized on Sunday and said the company would gradually restart the PlayStation Network with increased security and would offer some free content, pleasing a number of its users. Other users were less forgiving.

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