Sony confirms SOE hack; 25m users lost personal data

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Tokyo, May 3: The online game giant Sony Corp. has confirmed that hackers have intruded to their second online service, Sony Online Entertainment, and accessed personal information of more than 24.6 million customer accounts.

Sony discovered the hacking on Sony Online Entertainment, Sony's subsidiary that makes multiplayer games for personal computers, on Monday, May 2, while investigating the attack on Sony PlayStation Network and Qriocity. Sony officials said that hackers may access names, birth dates and addresses of Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) service.

Meanwhile, Sony pulled back the SOE service on Monday after identifying hacker"s access to "outdated database from 2007". Officials said that the hack on SOE happened on 16 and 17 Apr, a day before the attack on PSN, which happened from 17 to 19 Apr.

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

Earlier, on Sunday, May 1, Sony's president of computer entertainment division, Kazuo Hirai, apologized to PlayStation customers, whose personal data including PSN password and credit card details may have been stolen by hackers.

The recently identified hacking attempt on SOE will be a death blow to Sony that tries to restart the PSN service in a week. There are media reports that some PSN users are planning to move to Microsoft's Xbox online games.

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