News

Sony admits that SOE was also hacked, that service is suspended and over 100 million accounts now exposed

Posted by: Dan at 5/2/2011 7:53 PM
And the news just gets better from Sony by the passing moment. Apparently Sony has just now realized that the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) division, which is host of EverQuest, DC Universe Online, Free Realms and Magic: The Gathering – Tactics was also impacted in cyber-attacks on April 16th and April 17th and has now been temporarily suspended. In these attacks, unlike the PSN and Qriocity servers, the hackers were not only able to get access to personal info, but also to a database from 2007 that contained 12,700 non-U.S. credit card numbers and 10,700 direct debit account numbers of certain customers in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Spain. This latest admission comes late today, and also resulted in Sony taking down the SOE servers and pushing the total impacted accounts to over 100 million.

Sony stated that this was not a new attack, but something they just discovered as part of the investigation from the previous attacks. As a result, Sony is now getting heat from the congressional committee on energy and commerce, which asked that Sony come and testify before it. However, in typical Sony fashion, they declined and said they would provide written answers Tuesday according to the Wall Street Journal.

The www.soe.com website is currently redirecting all variations to the security update that appear below. A letter (seen after the jump) that is almost identical to the one that went out to PSN and Qriocity subscribers last week was also listed, but the update takes a more serious tone than what was seen during the initial PSN outage last week. Here are the latest update on the SOE suspension and the letter that SOE subscribers will be getting:


SECURITY UPDATE

As previously announced, we have been conducting an ongoing, thorough investigation stemming from the cyber attack in April and promised to notify you should there be any changes to the situation.

A press release was issued today outlining these details. We will promptly send a customer service notification via email to all of our impacted account holders whose customer data may have been stolen as a result of an illegal intrusion on our systems. This information was discovered less than 24 hours ago and in response, we took down our services until we could verify their security.


SOE is committed to delivering secure, stable and entertaining games for players of all ages and we're working around the clock to ensure this situation is resolved as quickly as possible. We deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused and appreciate your continued patience and feedback.

Sincerely,
Sony Online Entertainment



May 2, 2011
Dear Valued Sony Online Entertainment Customer:

Our ongoing investigation of illegal intrusions into Sony Online Entertainment systems has discovered that hackers may have obtained personal customer information from SOE systems. We are today advising you that the personal information you provided us in connection with your SOE account may have been stolen in a cyber-attack. Stolen information includes, to the extent you provided it to us, the following: name, address (city, state, zip, country), email address, gender, birthdate, phone number, login name and hashed password.

Customers outside the United States should be advised that we further discovered evidence that information from an outdated database from 2007 containing approximately 12,700 non-US customer credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes) and about 10,700 direct debit records listing bank account numbers of certain customers in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Spain may have also been obtained. We will be notifying each of those customers promptly.
There is no evidence that our main credit card database was compromised. It is in a completely separate and secured environment.

We had previously believed that SOE customer data had not been obtained in the cyber-attacks on the company, but on May 1st we concluded that SOE account information may have been stolen and we are notifying you as soon as possible.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the attack and as a result, we have:

1) Temporarily turned off all SOE game services;
2) Engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened; and
3) Quickly taken steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure to provide you with greater protection of your personal information.

We greatly appreciate your patience, understanding and goodwill as we do whatever it takes to resolve these issues as quickly and efficiently as practicable.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When SOE's services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your Station or SOE game account name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.

To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant, to review your account statements and to monitor your credit reports. We are providing the following information for those who wish to consider it:

U.S. residents are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free (877) 322-8228.

We have also provided names and contact information for the three major U.S. credit bureaus below. At no charge, U.S. residents can have these credit bureaus place a "fraud alert" on your file that alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity prior to granting credit in your name. This service can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name. Note, however, that because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you, it also may delay your ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies your identity. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on your file. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, or should you have any questions regarding your credit report, please contact any one of the agencies listed below.

Experian: 888-397-3742; www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Equifax: 800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
TransUnion: 800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

You may wish to visit the web site of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or reach the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 or 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580 for further information about how to protect yourself from identity theft. Your state Attorney General may also have advice on preventing identity theft, and you should report instances of known or suspected identity theft to law enforcement, your State Attorney General, and the FTC. For North Carolina residents, the Attorney General can be contacted at 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-9001; telephone (877) 566-7226; or www.ncdoj.gov. For Maryland residents, the Attorney General can be contacted at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202; telephone: (888) 743-0023; or www.oag.state.md.us.

We are committed to helping our customers protect their personal data and we will provide a complimentary offering to assist users in enrolling in identity theft protection services and/or similar programs. The implementation will be at a local level and further details will be made available shortly in regions in which such programs are commonly utilized.

We thank you for your patience as we complete our investigation of this incident, and we regret any inconvenience. Our teams are working around the clock on this, and services will be restored as soon as possible. Sony takes information protection very seriously and will continue to work to ensure that additional measures are taken to protect personally identifiable information. Providing quality and secure entertainment services to our customers is our utmost priority. Please contact us at 1 (866) 436-6698 should you have any additional questions.

Sincerely,
Sony Online Entertainment LLC