Posts Tagged ‘account security’

SOE, EA, Microsoft, Square Enix, Turbine Talk Gamer Safety

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized


By Scott Dale (Customer Service Manager)
and Linda “Brasse” Carlson (Director, Global Community Relations)

Every day, thousands of game accounts are stolen. Tens of thousands of credit cards are compromised. Most of you know someone who has gone through this traumatic experience. Maybe it has even happened to you.

Sony Online Entertainment has joined together with a number of high-profile game companies under the umbrella of the Gamer Safety Alliance to bring you Gamer Safety Week, running from February 6th to 12th, 2012.

Our goal is to raise awareness of online security concerns, and to provide some suggestions for our players to keep their accounts safe. These principles apply regardless of whether you sign up for a game, buy some shoes, or donate to a charity online.  In this article, we’ll share some actual experiences from our customer service files and how to avoid these nightmares.

Over the past year, SOE has redoubled its efforts to continually improve our company’s online security on all levels. Keeping your information safe and secure is one of our top priorities. Even with our evolving security measures, it is still too easy for scammers and hackers to work around all security by counting on the trusting nature of players and the sheer volume of places where information may be shared.

Read more at, or read the Press Release posted at the Merchant Risk Council.

Note: The article makes no mention of the free Mobile Authenticator app announced at Fan Faire.


SOE Authenticator 25% Off, Phone Version Still ‘Coming Soon’

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Yesterday we received an e-mail from SOE informing us of a 25% discount on their SOE Authenticator keyring security fobs licensed from Vasco. These devices can be ordered from the SOE Station Store for $7.49 plus shipping and handling. This promotion ends November 17, 2011 at 8:59am PDT (11:59am EDT; 16:59 GMT; 17:59 CET).

Note the free SOE Mobile Authenticator app for iPhone and Android is still listed as ‘Coming Soon’.

You can read the SOE Authenticator Frequently Asked Questions at

33,000 Unauthorized Login Attempts Highlight Password Recyling

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

If there’s one thing you don’t want to recycle, it’s passwords, as some EverQuest II players found recently out.

I think we’re all guilty of using the same login and password on many different sites such as e-mail, bank websites, and yes our SOE acounts. Recently, attempts were made by outsiders to login to some 33,000 SOE accounts using login and password credentials taken from other websites. SOE and PSN detected these login attempts and have pre-emptively disabled any accounts that matched the login/password credentials stolen from websites not affiliated with Sony. Note: This appears to be unrelated to this May’s SOE/PSN security breach.

But first, a message from the EQ2Wire The Sky is Not Falling So Keep Your Pants On Club:

This is NOT a security breach!

SOE has not been “hacked again”!


SOE Authenticators Now Available for $9.95

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International

SOE Security Authenticators are now available from for $9.95 including domestic shipping and handling. They may be used on one or more Station accounts.

Pricing compares favorably to the WoW security fobs which cost $6.50 plus shipping. Plus, you may use one SOE Authenticator on multiple Station accounts, a feature the devices lack as of October 2010.

Note: Only after entering your credit card information does international shipping or handling rates appear. We’ve seen several reports that international shipping is more expensive than the security fob itself. In the range of $10-13 US, 10 Euros, $13 AUD, etc.

There is no word on when the announced free SOE Authenticator apps for iPhone, Android, and possibly other platforms will appear.

Check out our detailed guide SOE Puts Security in your Pocket — Vasco Security Fobs which we posted on July 11th.

PSN: Password Reset Page Exploit Mars Smooth Restoration of Service

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Less than a week after restoring its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, Sony temporarily took down the password reset pages to fix a vulnerability that allowed hackers to change a user’s password if their birthdate and e-mail address were known. These data were among the pieces of information believed to have been obtained by the attack last month.

There has been no known effect on Sony Online Entertainment and by extension EverQuest II, however this new problem has players nervous that Sony has not taken appropriate steps to lock down the most critical points of attack such as the Password Reset page.

“We temporarily took down the PSN and Qriocity password reset page,” Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said in an update posted at the PlayStation blog.

“Contrary to some reports, there was no hack involved,” he explained. “In the process of resetting of passwords there was a URL exploit that we have subsequently fixed.”

SOE Offers Identity Protection for EU Players

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International

Adding to the Identity Theft Protection plan already announced for US customers, today, SOE has announced a similar program for EU customers.

For customers based in the United States, we have made arrangements with Debix, Inc., one of the industry’s most reputable identity protection firms, to offer AllClear ID PLUS at no cost to Station Account holders for 12 months from the time an account holder registers for the program. To qualify, Station Account holders must enroll by June 28, 2011. US – based customers will receive an email in the next few days, confirming how to access their redemption code for this service. For more details on the program, click here.

For customers in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, we will provide a complimentary 12 month identity protection program offered through Affinion International Limited. Customers will have the option of enrolling in the program for 60 days from May 14, 2011 (when SOE services were restored) by contacting Affinion. The identity protection program will provide customers with monitoring, surveillance, reporting and insurance. Affinion is one of the world’s largest and longest-tenured providers of identity protection services. More details on how customers can take advantage of this service will be available soon. Read the Press Release.

For all other customers, we are actively investigating similar programs or other measures in other countries or territories; more information on those programs or measures will be provided as they are implemented.

SOE CS Helps With Account Issues, Patching Hangups

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

After nearly 2 weeks off the air, EQ2 came back online today. Between the new Password requirements, and any underlying changes made in favor of security, it was not surprising that players have reported a variety of problems from Timeout errors, Patch failed messages, etc. SOE Customer Service has been answering phones all day today despite it being Sunday to help players get back into the game after the extended downtime.

There will always be issues that can’t be resolved immediately, but today it seems to have been all-hands-on-deck to get things working again.

Password Change Issues, Research Assistants, EQ2X Compensation, and GU60 News

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Now that EQ2 has been resurrected, some players have had issues with the mandatory password resets. Others who have gotten into the game noticed issues with Research Assistants. Some EQ2X players at the Bronze and Silver levels feel there should be compensation. EQ2X players at Gold and Platinum already have a compensation package. Finally, players are curious about when Game Update 60 will hit, since we are just 3 days away from the original announced launch date, and there had only been a couple days of testing.

Details after the jump…

EverQuest II Service, Forums Restored

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Defying our predictions, Sony Online Entertainment began restoring gaming operations approximately 9 hours ago, with EverQuest 2 servers coming online about an hour after that announcement.

Before you can log back into EQ2, the forums, or any other SOE games, you must first reset your password. It may be necessary to clear your browser cache or attempt a couple of times (As I did on the forums) to login.


EQ2 Patch Errors

Some players have reported getting the following error message when trying to patch EQ2 with the Station Launcher:

There was a problem decompressing the file C:\Program Files (x86)\Sony\EverQuest II\lp_temp\LegendsOfNorrath\LegendsOfNorrath.dll_delta_10509_126.gz.

Rothgar has suggested deleting every instance of the LegendsofNorrath.dll file on your computer.

If you have any questions or issues about getting back into EQ2, your best bet is to post in the Welcome Back EQ2 thread on the EQ2 Forums (once you login using your new password).

Welcome Back Program Details

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

The details of the Welcome Back program have now been specified.

Members with a Station Access account get:

  • 500 StationCash

And all EQ2 players will see these events all active on all accounts for the next WEEK through May 22nd:

  • Double XP
  • Double Guild XP
  • “Loot Bonanza”
  • All Aether Flying Races
  • All City Festivals
  • Moonlight Enchantments

Sony Online Entertainment Restores Game Services

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized


Services Return Following Implementation of Increased Security Measures; Consumer Data Protection a Full-Time, Company-Wide Commitment

SAN DIEGO, May 14, 2011 – Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) announced today that restoration of its game services will begin today. The phased restoration will include the return of nearly all of SOE’s portfolio of online games, the reinstatement of SOE’s game forums and websites, and added functionality to require players to reset their passwords.

Increased Security Measures
As the result of a criminal cyber-attack on the company’s network, SOE shut down its game services in order for the company to undertake an investigation and incorporate rigorous enhancements to the overall security of the network infrastructure. SOE worked with several outside respected security firms during the course of implementing significant security measures that strengthen safeguards against unauthorized activity and provide customers with greater protection of their personal information.

SOE made enhancements to overall data security as well, including updating and adding advanced security technologies, additional software monitoring, performing new penetration and vulnerability testing, and increased levels of encryption.

EQ2 Back Online!!!

Written by Dethdlr on . Posted in Uncategorized

That’s right! The servers are back up! I’ll let Feldon fill in details or replace this with a “real” article about the servers being back up. I’m headed in to play! Just wanted to get the word out. WE’RE UP!


Restoration of SOE’s game services will begin today. This phased restoration will include the return of nearly all of our portfolio of online games, the reinstatement of our game forums and websites, and added functionality to require players to reset their passwords.

SOE Billing Stopped May 2nd, Credit Authorization Process Caused Later Charges

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

On Facebook, in the #eq2 chatroom, on guild websites, and yes on EQ2Flames, players have been chiming in that they have been charged by SOE on May 2nd and beyond, with some customers seeing charges hitting as late as May 3rd, 4th, 5th, and even May 6th, well after the games went down. Is it time to call Shenanigans? Is SOE’s billing department on the rampage?

We certainly thought so, and ran a story about it (we’ve since pulled the story, but the comments are still visible). With communications in and out of SOE tighter than a snare drum, it’s been nearly impossible to verify just what was going on, and with comments on SOE’s Facebook page about this issue having received little attention, we felt it necessary to post a story on the issue. However it was not our lucky day (Friday the 13th and all that), and of course there was more to this story.

Is SOE Still Billing? Looks Like I Got Trolled

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

I woke up this morning to an urgent e-mail from SOE’s Linda Carlson asking if I was able to verify that customers had in fact been billed since the SOE downtime started on May 2nd.

I went with the story that billing was still happening based on direct comments in the #eq2 chat, comments on the SOE Facebook wall, and of course some comments on EQ2Flames. It seemed unlikely that people on all 3 sites would lie about being billed after SOE services went offline. But you know what they say about assuming.

If it turns out that I’ve been trolled, well then I’m pretty sure it will be the dwarf tossing me in the pool at Fan Faire.


A Few More Days… And “Make Good” Details

Written by Dethdlr on . Posted in Uncategorized

Posted on SOE’s security website:

May 12, 2011

We thank you for your patience as we continue to work around the clock to restore our game services. We know this has been a frustrating time for you and appreciate your understanding as we work to confirm the security of our network.

In light of the recent outage of Sony Online Entertainment’s game services due to April’s cyber-attack, we are committed to compensating our loyal player base for the inconvenience caused by the data breach and lost game time while we improve our security measures.

We are currently in the process of an extensive upgrade to our network to further protect your information from future attacks. It will likely be at least a few more days before we restore our services, and when we come back online, here is what you can expect for each of our game services.

First and foremost, all impacted players will receive 30 days of game time added to the end of the current billing cycle in addition to one day for each day the system is down. Additionally, many games are offering a variety of in-game items and special events to welcome players back once our services resume (per the outline below). This is true for both PC and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system based products.

  • EverQuest II and EverQuest II Extended: A series of events, including Double XP, Double Guild XP, Loot Bonanza, and City Festivals

For our lifetime subscribers, we’ll grant in-game currency; specifically 20,000 coins for Free Realms, 7,500 Galactic Credits for Clone Wars Adventures and 10 Marks of Distinction for DC Universe Online (in addition to the items listed above).

And finally, our Station Access subscribers will receive 500 Station Cash, in addition to the subscription time and items listed above.

Additionally, we announced today that SOE will provide its U.S.-based Station Account holders with complimentary enrollment in an identity theft protection program through Debix, one of the industry’s most reputable identity protection firms. For Station Account holders who live outside the U.S., SOE will be offering similar programs, if and as available, and will provide details as they’re confirmed for each country or territory.

We continue to work around the clock to restore SOE’s services and thank you for your continued patience as we complete our investigation of this criminal attack.

Thank you,
Sony Online Entertainment

Is SOE Still Billing?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

UPDATE: The contents of this article have been removed until such time as we can verify that credit cards have been charged after May 2nd, the date of the outage.

SOE has e-mailed me to indicate that their Billing system was taken down at the same time as all other Account services. Thus, any charges would have already been authorized or pending prior to that time.

We are attempting to verify that cards have been charged after this date. If you have been billed by SOE after May 2, 2011, please Contact Me.

Tilting at Timetables: Nine Days Down, Unknown To Go

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Today’s notifications at SOE Facebook and SOE Twitter explain that services will not be restored today. With no indication that we’re any closer to a resolution, the question on everyone’s minds is: When will SOE, and by extension EQ2, become available again?

Crossed Wires About Dates latched onto a terse quote from a Sony spokesman and published a service restoration date of May 31st, leading many publications to report that the PlayStation Network and SOE networks had little hope of recovery before then. But that’s incorrect, according to Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold. In fact, Sony has yet to announce a date for the restart of the PlayStation Network, which has been down since April 20th, or the games and websites of Sony Online Entertainment, down for 9 days now. At one time it was hoped that service could be restored by Friday May 6th but that deadline was scrapped once the extent of the intrusion into the SOE customer database became known.

Speculation Running Rampant

The lack of information from Sony and SOE, with communications to the public no doubt being funneled through a team of Sony lawyers, has encouraged a great deal of speculation. CNET‘s Erica Ogg certainly had a red letter weekend, posting articles thinly sourced from unknown individuals in an IRC chatroom, first prognosticating a third attack, and then basking in the credit for Sony’s alleged thwarting of said attack. Apparently the idea that there was no attack even planned never occured to her. 😉

Other news sites have posted missives no less farfetched, with conflicting theories as to whether Sony’s PSN and SOE networks were running outdated Apache software, and trying to pin the blame on Anonymous, perhaps a splinter group, or maybe profiteers hoping to acquire reams of credit card data. Readers interested in the lengthy and tangled speculative mess of the PSN/SOE Compromise have had a virtual buffet of editorials and articles to choose from by security professionals, linux gurus, and players big and small inside and outside of Anonymous and other hacking crews.

But is all this speculation helpful?

Sony could tell us more, a lot more. Most of us are not demanding a restoration date so much as a window when it *won’t* be done. Checking several times a day has only magnified our perception of time. For those asking “Well, how would you handle it?” look no further than this exemplary press release which might serve as a model for how Sony should be handling this situation:

Amazon EC2 Service Outage notification

Yet none of this helps to pinpoint a date. The 51% of our readers who voted “After May 11th” in our How Long Do You Think SOE Will Be Offline? were right on the money, but the only prize forthcoming seems to be a bit of grim satisfaction.

Daily Fail: May 11th Not Today

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

From SOE Facebook:

All SOE games and sites are still offline as of May 11th and will not return today. Thank you again for your continued patience and support as we diligently work on these issues. More information on SOE’s “Make Good” plan to come!

UPDATE: All houses requiring rent will have one month added free to help offset any costs incurred during this outage.

UPDATE 2: Since a few folks seem unaware of this, SOE has already promised 30 days of free subscription plus 1 day for each day the servers are down. This was posted on SOE’s website on May 3rd.

Just Another Manic Monday

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Although we are unsurprised — restoration of services even by the end of the week now seems unlikely — we bring you the latest news from SOE’s Facebook page as of May 9, 1:55 p.m. PDT:

SOE services will remain offline today. We continue to work diligently to bring things back as quickly as possible and appreciate your continued patience.

PSN Service Restart Date Unknown, No Word on SOE

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

From comes an article posted today (May 9, 2011):

Sony Corp. (6758)’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services remain shut as of today, Shigenori Yoshida, a Tokyo-based spokesman said. Sony is uncertain when it can resume the services, Yoshida said by phone today.

The company is in the process of adopting an improved security system and its plan to restart the services fully by May 31 is unchanged, he said. Sony shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services April 20 because of possible data theft by hackers.

The maker of PS consoles had planned to restart partial operations within a week after boosting the level of security system, the company said May 1.

Note: We erroneously reported that PSN service had been restored in Japan based on an ill-informed blog. To date, PlayStation Network remains inaccessible in Japan, Europe, Oceania, and the US now over 17 days since it was taken offline.

Meanwhile we’re just coming up on 7 days that Sony Online Entertainment has seen all of their games, websites, forums, and services offline and there has been no word on their possible return date.

Sony Faces Setbacks, Misses PlayStation Network Restoration Date

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Sony has hit some major setbacks on restoring its PlayStation Network, which affects all PS3 and PSP customers. By extension, this would also prevent Sony Online Entertainment games from coming online, as Sony has indicated that they don’t want to restore service until they can be assured it is secure. This frustrating news is no doubt going to keep us out of our games for quite a bit longer than originally anticipated:

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