Sony online gaming unit shut down in 2nd hacker attack

LOS ANGELES — Less than a week after news of a major security breach sparked an uproar, Sony Corp. has shut down its online-gaming unit after a hacker infiltrated the network in the second such attack on the company in the last month.

Sony Online Entertainment, known for creating massive multi-player games such as “EverQuest” and “The Matrix Online,” suspended service Sunday night, according to a statement Monday.

“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,” the statement said.

Two weeks ago, an attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity music service exposed the personal information of 77 million customers’ accounts. Sony apologized and disclosed Saturday that 10 million credit card accounts may have been compromised during the security breach.

The company will give affected customers 30 days of free access to its Qriocity music-streaming service as well as 30 days of access to its PlayStation Plus online game service. The company will also provide credit card protection services to relevant customers, Kaz Hirai, Sony’s executive deputy president, said during a news conference this weekend.

The company has drawn the ire of both customers and lawmakers since the initial attack. A congressional subcommittee last week demanded answers to a detailed list of questions regarding security concerns, including when the breach occurred, how much data was stolen and why Sony waited a week before it notified customers.

Consumers have filed at least two lawsuits in California against Sony and are seeking federal class-action status.

The Associated Press