Los Angeles – Japanese electronics giant Sony said it detected a second "illegal intrusion" in its systems affecting Sony Online Entertainment, or SEO, and fears the robbery of bank account information from its clients in several countries.
Sony got wind of the incident while investigating a cyber-attack that led the company to close down all game services on its PlayStation Network, or PSN, on April 20.
The breach in the security systems of SEO, a unit based in San Diego, California, occurred April 16-17 and left exposed the personal information without banking data of 24.6 million customer accounts, as well as an outdated 2007 database, Sony said.
The outdated files did include the numbers of credit and debit cards together with their expiration dates - but not their security codes - belonging to approximately 12,700 people residing outside the United States and about "10,700 direct debit records listing bank account numbers of certain customers in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Spain," Sony said.
Hackers who got into the outdated database had access to bank account numbers, customers' names and mailing addresses, Sony said.
As a result of this new discovery, SEO took down all services that were hacked.
Over the weekend Sony said that it had strengthened security measures following the hacking of its PSN, made up of 77 million personal accounts, and apologized for what had happened, while at the same time insisting that it would continue investigating the incident.
The attack also affected the Qriocity service, launched in 2010 and which allows movies and music to be downloaded to several models of Bravia televisions, Blu-ray optical discs and Home Theaters made by Sony.
Sony said it was working with U.S. law enforcement agencies in order to nab the perpetrators of the attack on the online PlayStation Network, which has users in some 60 countries, and on Qriocity.
Both platforms were shut down after discovery of the cyber-attack that occurred between April 17 and April 19, though they are expected to be partially reopened as soon as their security is confirmed, possibly by next week.
PSN is an online environment accessible with videogame consoles PlayStation3 and PSP, through which users provide personal and bank account information to Sony in order to play online, use the Internet and download multimedia content.
Sony said there is "no evidence that our main credit card database was compromised. It is in a completely separate and secured environment."