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Updated Multiplayer spaceship game EVE Online has taken its systems offline after it was warped out of shape by a debilitating denial-of-service attack.

In a statement on Facebook, its developers at CCP Games explained that it disconnected its server cluster from the internet as a precaution while it reviewed the integrity and defences of its infrastructure:

At 02:05 GMT June 2nd, CCP became aware of a significant and sustained distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) against the Tranquility cluster (which houses EVE Online and DUST 514) and web servers.

Our policy in such cases is to mobilize a taskforce of internal and external experts to evaluate the situation. At 03:07 GMT, that group concluded that our best course of action was to go completely offline while we put in place mitigation plans.

While we initially reopened EVE Online and DUST 514, we have since re-evaluated. With the highest sense of precaution we have taken Tranquility and associated websites back down for further investigation and an exhaustive scan of our entire infrastructure. We will update you more frequently via our Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/eveonline), however, an extended service interruption of several hours is expected as this process should not be rushed.

Role-playing game EVE Online, once memorably described by a player as having “the learning curve of putting a 5-year-old through a nuclear physics masters degree” has, over recent years, become a forum where rival gamers, gold farmers and occasionally hacktivists such as LulzSec slug it out.

In some ways the real-world action is much colourful than the space-cruiser-on-battleship action that the game actually offers, but it's rare for systems to be taken offline. Progress towards resolving the problem can be found on Eve Online's Twitter feed here. ®

Updated to add

Eve Online's Tranquility server cluster is now coming back online. The team said it discovered someone exploiting a vulnerability in its backend systems, and has patched the bug.

"We would like to stress that at no time was customer data compromised or accessible in any way. We will be looking at ways to compensate players in both EVE and DUST for the outage," the developers said in a statement today.

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