Article published on Monday, May 16th, 2011
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Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has finished the restoration of nearly all of its online game services today. Their MMOs were taken down a month ago after their team of engineers and consultants discovered that the PlayStation Network was breached by a hacker. Some MMOs that came back online this weekend were DC Universe Online, Free Realms, Clone Wars Adventures, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Star Wars Galaxies, Magic: The Gathering - Tactics and PoxNora.

To show their gratitude they are holding a Welcome Back Program for all its players. Players who are in good standing will receive 45 days of game time (30 days plus 1 day for each day of the outage) added to their Station Account. The game time will be applied to any game you currently or previously activated. They will also get 500 Station Cash. For members who are not on a paying plan (free-to-play MMO members), you will get in-game currency instead of game time.

Here are some of the free gifts that are being given away:

DC Universe Online: Batman and Two-Face Inspired Masks and 30 Marks of Distinction
Free Realms: Free daily items (7 to collect)
Clone Wars Adventures: Count Dooku v2 Outfit
EverQuest: A series of events, including Double XP, Double Rare Mob Spawns and Double Faction Gains
EverQuest II and EverQuest II Extended: A series of events, including Double XP, Double Guild XP, Loot Bonanza, and City Festivals
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes®: A series of Double XP events
Star Wars Galaxies: Bounty Hunter Statue, a miniature model of Boba Fett’s ship, the Slave
Magic: The Gathering – Tactics: Four of each of these spells: “Ivory Mask”, “Duress” and “Angelheart Vial”, plus 500 Station Cash
PoxNora: Limited edition Carrionling, Welcome Back 5K Gold Award Tournaments and two Draft Tournaments, plus 500 Station Cash

Remember to change your password!

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.

“Our main priority is the safety and security of our customers’ personal information,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “We are making consumer data protection a full-time, company-wide commitment, and have applied enhanced security technologies so that our customers can feel protected and confident about playing our games.”

Hirai added, “We are committed to delivering secure and entertaining games for players of all ages and thank each of our players for their patience and support during this difficult time.”