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Sony Online Entertainment Shut Down After 25 Million More Accounts Hacked

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By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sony Online Entertainment has temporarily shut down its online games service and its Facebook games after discovering the April break-in that led to the theft of 77 million user accounts also affected its system.

A spokesman for the online games unit said the service was taken down at 1:30 am Pacific time on Monday. The spokesman declined to say how many customers were affected and none were alerted beyond a terse message on its website.

Facebook games developed by Sony Online Entertainment including "PoxNora," "Dungeon Overlord," "Wildlife Refuge," as well as games based on the Star Wars movies, were all shut down.

Sony posted a message on Facebook saying "we had to temporarily take down SOE services during the night." A Sony spokesman said the Facebook games make money from microtransactions and the sale of virtual goods like costumes and weapons.

Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sony Online Entertainment is a division of Sony Corp, the global electronics company that operates online games such as "EverQuest" and is separate from the PlayStation video game console division.

The spokesman, who could not confirm a Nikkei report that 12,700 credit card numbers were stolen from the intrusion of Sony Online Entertainment, said it was not "a second attack" and was related to the April 17-19 break-in of the Sony PlayStation Network.

"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 company said on its website.

Sony on Monday denied on its official PlayStation blog that hackers had tried to sell it a list of millions of credit card numbers.

The news comes less than a week after Sony alerted customers that a hacker broke into Sony's PlayStation video game network and stole names, addresses, passwords and possibly credit card numbers of its 77 million customers.

Sony alerted customers a week after discovering the break-in.

Sony executives apologized on Sunday and said it would gradually restart the PlayStation Network with increased security and would offer some free content to users.

(Additional reporting by Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco; Editing by Andre Grenon and Richard Chang)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions

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