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UPDATE (Monday, May 2nd 2011 at 10:00 AM Pacific):

Earlier this morning SOE servers we're taken offline and the following statement was issued:

We have had to take the SOE service down temporarily. In the course of our investigation into the intrusion into our systems we have discovered an issue that warrants enough concern for us to take the service down effective immediately. We will provide an update later today (Monday).

The entire SOE network has been disabled along with access to all their online games, that includes Free Realms. Previously SOE stated that they believed none of the information was compromised, although when we hear from SOE later today the situation may have changed. If you haven't already we suggest you read the security information and advice outlined below.

UPDATE (Monday, May 2nd 2011 at 3:30 PM Pacific): 

SOE released an official statement on the current issue. It can be found here. For more information, check back on the front page for a new post addressing what was mentioned...

 

Last week, both the entirety of Sony's PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment went offline for several hours, and in in the case of the PSN, is still out. (There currently is not exact planned date for when the PlayStation Network servers will be back online)

Both Sony Computer Entertainment (who is responsible for all things PlayStation) and Sony Online Entertainment (the ones behind Free Realms) spoke up this week on the reasons why their products and services went down.

For PlayStation 3 players, SCE had confirmed that the cause was due to an "illegal intrusion" and caused them to take the servers offline. At the moment, they're still rebuilding the free service to strengthen it's security. Unfortunately, due to this intrusion, personal information of all registered PlayStation Network players have been obtained illegally. The information taken include the following:

  • Name
  • Address (city, state, zip code)
  • Country
  • Email address
  • Login information (including password)
  • PSN username

SCE claims that "there is no evidence at this time that credit card information has been taken," however, they are not completely ruling out that notion. If you have associated a credit card with your PSN account, it is still highly suggested that you keep watch of your credit card reports for fraudulent purchases, as there still may be a possibility that your credit card number, security code, and expiration date may have been obtained.
Also be aware of any email/phone/postal scams that may occur from this information leak.

So, if you are registered with the PlayStation Network, or know somebody who does, it is highly suggested to change your passwords for other accounts and services outside of the PSN that may share the same password, email, or username that you use on the PS3.

 

But what does this mean for PC/Mac players of Free Realms who may not use a PS3, along with every other SOE customer?

According to SOE, they have confirmed that the service interuption was due to an "external intrusion." However, they follow up saying:
"We have been conducting a thorough investigation and, to the best of our knowledge, no customer personal information got out to any unauthorized person or persons. We are continuing that investigation and monitoring the situation carefully; should the situation change, we will -- of course - promptly notify you."
Also a reminder that "SOE's systems and databases are separate from PSN's"

With that said, it still may be suggested to do the same thing as PS3 users. While there is currently no proof that any personal information was taken from SOE, you still may want to change your passwords and keep checking your credit card activity just to be safe.

 

For Free Realms players on both the PC/Mac and PS3, Sony Online Entertainment looks to make up for the downtime:

"We apologize for any inconvenience players may have experienced as a result of the recent service interruption. As a global leader in online gaming, SOE is committed to delivering stable and entertaining games for players of all ages.

To thank players for their patience, we will be hosting special events this weekend across our game portfolio, including a Double Station Cash day on Saturday, April 30th.

We are also working on a "make good" plan for players of the PS3 verisions of DC Universe Online and Free Realms. Details will be available soon on the individual game websites and forums."

 

Stay tuned to FreeRealmsInsider.com for more info on this as it comes in, and remember to stay cautious of your personal information.

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