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As you may recall in a previous post, both Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment's servers went offline over a week ago.
SCE confirmed last week that the PlayStation Network was attacked and various personal information was stolen, potentially including credit card details. The PSN remains offline as they rebuild it from the ground up to be even safer than ever.
SOE brought their servers up rather quickly, saying that they have not yet found any evidence of any information of any kind being leaked at the time and that they were continuing their investigation.

This morning (Monday, May 2nd, 2011), players across all of SOE's games saw the screen above, saying that they found some concerning evidence that caused them to shut down everything once again.

Just recently, SOE has confirmed that they have faced similar attacks as the PSN.

In their announcement, they have confirmed that personal information may have been stolen. That includes names, addresses (city, state, country, zip), emails addresses, genders, birthdates, phone numbers, login names and passwords. Note that they say "may have been stolen in a cyber-attack" and not absolutely confirming that such details were leaked.

In terms of credit cards, SOE has found evidence that information from an "outdated database from 2007" may have also been taken. What kind of information was found on that server? According to SOE, that database contained "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."

They also say that "There is no evidence that our main credit card database was compromised. It is in an entirely separate and secure environment."
So, for players of Free Realms who made an account just to play the game: You should not worry. Unless you've played an SOE game before 2007, live outside the US, and used a credit card: This may be a cause of concern to you. However, remember that SOE is still not completely ruling out whether or not that their main credit card servers were broken into.

What should you do?

At this point, you may want to do the same actions as PlayStation Network customers have been doing the past week, as mentioned previously

  • Change similar passwords of other non SOE-accounts you have online that are registered under your email address/login username that you use with your Station Account.
  • Watch out for any possible scams via email, phone, or postal mail that may ask for personal information. Sony will not contact you in any way for such information like your credit card number, social security number, etc.
  • While still not confirmed that such info was obtained, you may want to act as if your credit card was stolen. Be on the look out for any fraudulent purchases on your credit card reports, and/or cancel your card and order a new one.

 

Currently, there is no ETA on when SOE's servers will be back up. SOE does say that they want to continue to "conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened" as well as taking "steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure to provide you with greater protection of your personal information."
That is practically the same thing Sony Computer Entertainment has been doing for the PlayStation Network since their servers went down. Will that mean that all of Sony Online Entertainment will remain offline for just as long as the PSN has, which is now nearing 2 weeks? At the moment, we have no idea, but that may very well be the case.

If you would like to read the full statement, as well as additional information for Puerto Rico and Massachusetts residents, please visit http://www.soe.com/securityupdate/

Again, stay tuned to FreeRealmsInsider.com for more details as they come in...

 

Update: ZAM.com has reported that "SOE is granting customers 30 days of additional time on their subscriptions, in addition to compensating them one day for each day the system is down." If you have a lifetime membership, there currently doesn't seem to be any sort compensation set up for you at the moment." 

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