When Sony Online Entertainment announced last night that it had lost several thousand customers' credit card numbers -- though the theft came weeks earlier, during the main attack affecting Sony's PlayStation Network and Qriocity services -- something didn't add up. Sony Online Entertainment had just one week earlier specifically said that its customers data was safe, because "SOE's systems and databases are separate from PSN's." So, how did SOE customer information leak if the "systems and databases" were different for PSN and SOE?

"While the two systems are distinct and operated separately, given that they are both under the Sony umbrella, there is some degree of architecture that overlaps," an SOE rep told Joystiq this afternoon. Speaking to the method used for breaching the information, the rep told us, "The intrusions were similar in nature," indicating that the same party perpetrated both thefts.

SOE also insisted once more that "This is NOT a second attack," and that yesterday's announcement was a result of "new information" that was discovered on May 1 "as part of our ongoing investigation of the external intrusion in April." It is still unknown when service will return to SOE's games, but the company says "it will be as soon as we are 100% confident that we can resume a safe and secure service."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.