Sony has taken its Online Entertainment service offline after discovering that an additional 25 million private accounts may have been hacked in a worsening crisis for the Japanese technology giant, which last month revealed a massive breach of its Playstation Network affecting 70 million users.
In a statement, Sony said credit card details and other personal information such as names, home addresses, e-mail addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and gender information had been pillaged.
Additionally, direct debit details of around 10,700 customers in Austria, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany were stolen, as were the credit or debit card details of some 12,700 non-US customers.
Sony confirmed that the information included card numbers and expiry dates, but said that this data was taken from a 2007 database which was securely encrypted.
"There is no evidence that our main credit card database was compromised," the company said in a statement. "It is in a completely separate and secured environment."
News of the latest breach - which extends beyond the Sony Playstation hardware perimeter to include PC and Facebook gamers - has piled further pressure on the beleagured company, which has urged customers to change their passwords and be wary of any correspondence purporting to be from official Sony sources.
"Sony will not contact you in any way, including by e-mail, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information," said the company. "If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When SOE's services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password."