It appears that the attack was caused by self-replicating code which created a heavy load on the game's database and 2,700 or so game servers causing lagging and disconnection for the 600,000 users online at the time.
Robert Linden, founder of the company, said in his blog that log-ins to the game were suspended while the team cleaned up the servers between 2.44pm and 3.18pm on Sunday.
Linden referred to the worm as a "grey goo", but it appears that the malware was manifested as self replicating 'gold rings' appearing on the ground and in the air. Some players likened the rings to graphics in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog game.
Although Linden had already erected a 'grey goo fence' to try and prevent such an eventuality, some posters to the game's official blog claim that there are numerous ways for self-replicating code to get around the defence mechanisms.
A player going by the name of 'Apology Gemini' even seems to believe that he or she may be the cause of the problem and that the attack was either started accidentally or the code was deliberately given to inexperienced players.
"I was given a piece of malicious script that duplicated Sonics Ring. Before you blame any one group or one person, understand that this is something that could have happened anywhere in Second Life to any person," wrote 'Apology Gemini'.
"Many of you have automatically assumed that I sent Sonics Ring as some sort of griefing [sic] and have sent me profane IMs but that is simply untrue.
"Everyone should try to stay calm when these things happen and contact technical support immediately as I did."
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