Sony Takes Online Entertainment Website Offline

5/2/11Follow @bvbigelow

[Updated 5/2/11 5:35 pm. See below.] A hacker attack that eviscerated the San Diego data center for the Sony PlayStation Network last month apparently led Sony to also shut down its Station.com online gaming website today. The episode involving the PlayStation Network prompted Sony executives to bow in apology in Tokyo yesterday, according to The Associated Press.

Today, a notice on the websites for both Sony Online Entertainment and Station.com says: “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). We apologize for any inconvenience and greatly appreciate your patience.”

[Updates with late statement from Sony] A press release from Sony headquarters in Tokyo later clarified that personal information from approximately 24.6 million Sony Online Entertainment accounts “may have been stolen,” as well as certain information from an outdated 2007 database. Sony says today that the compromised information from the 24.6 million accounts consisted of customers’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses, birthdates, gender, phone number, login names and password.

The security breach also affected another 10,700 direct debit records from accounts in Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Spain—compromising more sensitive personal information, including each customer’s bank account number, customer name, account name, and customer address.

In its statement today, Sony says: “the company is committed to helping its customers protect their personal data and 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 each region.”

According to a wire service report from Japan, the network that supports Sony’s PlayStation video game machines and the company’s Qriocity movie and music services has been shut down since April 20.

The chief of Sony’s PlayStation video game unit was among three executives who bowed for several seconds at the company’s Tokyo headquarters yesterday.

The network, which serves both the PlayStation video game machines and Sony’s Qriocity movie and music services, has been shut down since April 20. It is a system that links gamers worldwide in live play, and also allows users to upgrade and download games and other content.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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