May 31 seemed like just another Square Enix monthly update to its Final Fantasy XI online game registration server system. It wasn't.
As reader David recounts, the next three days Square Enix customer support was out of order due to technical issues. "At the following time," the Final Fantasy XI website stated, "the SQUARE ENIX Support centre for the North American region may be unable to provide certain kinds of customer support due to emergency registration server maintenance."
And Final Fantasy IX players began to sense something was up. They knew something was up when they got the following email:
Dear valued FINAL FANTASY XI/TETRAMASTER player:
Square Enix is committed to protecting your user information. We have just been alerted to a potential breach of Square Enix's secure systems from an external source. This may have resulted in the disclosure of a limited number of PlayOnline IDs, passwords and user account data. Please be assured that your credit card data has not been compromised. We are taking this matter very seriously and are conducting a full investigation.
As a precaution we are notifying you of this potential breach and we are resetting your PlayOnline password.
Please contact our Support centre by web chat and obtain a new password that differs from your prior password. Please keep this new password safe and always be on the alert for any "phishing" emails that ask you to disclose personal or financial information.
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 9:00AM to 6:00PM
*This week only, the Support centre will handle calls for this issue on Saturday June 5, and Sunday June 6.
*Please note that due to a large number of calls, it may take a long time until your call is handled. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.
Again, we apologise for this inconvenience and we thank you for your continued support.
Not every player received this email. Some players even apparently had their passwords reset and their accounts locked.
Kotaku is following up with Square Enix regarding this issue.