August 25, 2014
PlayStation Network Back Online After DDoS Attacks Disrupt Weekend Service
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Sony’s PlayStation Network was back online Monday following a weekend cyberattack that affected its servers, as well as those of fellow video game companies Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games and Grinding Gear Games.
According to Brett Molina of USA Today, Sony Online Entertainment chief John Smedley originally confirmed the outage on Sunday, stating that both the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network online services had been flooded with artificially high traffic as part of a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack and were temporarily unavailable to users.
Molina added that an outfit calling itself 'Lizard Squad' claimed responsibility for the attacks on Sony, as well as those on Blizzard, Riot and other game makers, via Twitter. In addition, the group sent a tweet from its account to American Airlines claiming that an explosive was on a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to San Diego – a flight on which Smedley was a passenger. The Sony executive later confirmed via Twitter that his flight had been delayed.
“A Twitter user with the handle @LizardSquad claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday, and said the attack was meant to pressure Sony to spend more of its profits on the network,” Reuters reporters Malathi Nayak and Sophie Knight wrote Monday. The hackers had also threatened to attack Microsoft, and Reuters said that some users reported experiencing issues on Sunday, but Xbox spokesman David Dennis said that “the core Xbox Live services” were “up and running.”
Late Sunday night, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) Blog Manager Fred Dutton said that both the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network were “back online” and that the company had seen “no evidence of any intrusion to the network and no evidence of any unauthorized access to users’ personal information.” He also said that regularly scheduled maintenance originally scheduled for Monday would be postponed in order to keep the networks online.
This is not the first time that the PlayStation Network has been targeted by DDoS attacks. In 2011, the network suffered a massive security breach when Anonymous claimed responsibility for an attack that compromised thousands of usernames and passwords, explained Forbes contributor Paul Tassi. Tassi suggested that this latest attack might have been an attempt to illustrate that the company had not done enough to upgrade its server security in the wake of that incident.
As for the bomb threat, Sony told BBC News that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the incident, which required Smedley’s plane to be diverted to Phoenix, Arizona. The FBI told Reuters that it had no comment on the incident, while American Airlines said via Twitter that it was “aware” of the threats made over the social media website and that it had alerted the authorities.
In addition to the PlayStation Network, the Lizard Squad DDoS attacks affected Riot Games’ League of Legends and Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile, as well as Blizzard and its Battle.net online gaming service, Tassi reported. As of 9:35pm Sunday night, they had been “harassing random streamers and interfering with [Battle.net’s] connectivity,” he added. Reuters said that officials from Blizzard were “not immediately reachable for comment, though its customer support Twitter account said the company's servers were stabilizing.”
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