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Bad News: All Sony Online Games Taken Offline, Due to That Whole 'External Intrusion' Thing [UPDATED]

Do we all get free EverQuest accounts now?

UPDATE: Sony just sent out a press release explaining the reason for the SOE outage, confirming that user information was stolen from the SOE servers in two separate incidents on April 16th and April 17th, 2011. Apparently, most of it was from an outdated database that mostly held expired credit card info. So says the release in greater detail:

This information, which was discovered by engineers and security consultants reviewing SOE systems, showed that personal information from approximately 24.6 million SOE accounts may have been stolen, as well as certain information from an outdated database from 2007.  The information from the outdated database that may have been stolen includes approximately 12,700 non-U.S. credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes), and about 10,700 direct debit records of certain customers in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain.

So, if you live in America, good news everyone! Your SOE customer info is probably safe. As for the rest of the world? Bad news, everyone! Your (hopefully) old credit card/debit card info may have been compromised. There is additional info on the situation over at SOE's website, including steps to take if your information was, in fact, compromised.

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They say "when it rains, it pours." For Sony, these past couple of weeks have been less a pour and more of an end-of- Deep Impact brand of killer tidal wave. With the PlayStation Network still down and Sony still working on repairing the service's infrastructure in the wake of the intrusion by hackers that maybe-involved-your-identity-getting-stolen-but-possibly-it-didn't-but-more-likely-it-did, now yet another bit of bad news has befallen the beleaguered publisher.

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Sony Online Entertainment, the MMO arm of Sony's games division, put up notice today that it had taken down all of its online servers due to the "external intrusion" that Sony Computer Entertainment has been investigating relating to PSN. Though SOE's PC operations had thus far remained largely unaffected, intermittent website issues had been reported and acknowledged as early as April 21st, around the same time Sony opted to take the PlayStation Network down.

So reads the statement on Station.com:

"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)."

SOE would not elaborate on that statement when we asked.

SOE maintains a number of MMO franchises, including EverQuest, PlanetSide and DC Universe Online. While we don't know if the Monday timeframe is definite or just some kind of "high level ballpark estimate," we'll keep an eye on Station.com and update this story with new information that becomes available.
Alex Navarro on Google+