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August 26, 2014

PlayStation Network forced offline in massive DDoS attack

PSN knocked out amid bomb scare surrounding Sony executive.

By Vinod

Video game fans hoping for a distraction over the rainy Bank Holiday weekend were left wanting after a major cyberattack forced several major online gaming networks out of service.

Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) was unavailable for much of Sunday following what the company called a "large-scale" denial of service (DDoS) attack, which was allegedly the work of hackers affiliated to the Islamic State jihadist group.

"Kuffar [non-believers] don’t get to play videogames until bombing of the ISIL stops," a Twitter account claiming responsibility for the attack, which had made repeated links to the Iraqi militant group, formerly known as ISIS, claimed.

Sony’s network was one of several gaming services hit over the weekend in what appeared to be a major co-ordinated attack, with Microsoft’s XBox Live, Blizzard’s, and Grinding Gear Games also reporting disruption over the weekend.

There is no indication that any customer details were stolen from any of the affected services, however.

The hack took an alarming twist when it appeared to coincide with a bomb threat against a plane containing the president of Sony’s Online Entertainment division.

John Smedley had confirmed via Twitter that the company was combating a "large-scale DDoS attack", before saying he was about to board a plane.

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However, this journey, an American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to San Diego, had to be diverted following claims from the same Twitter account purporting to be behind the DDoS attack that it was carrying explosives.

"Yes, my plane was diverted. Not going to discuss more than that. Justice will find these guys," Smedley later tweeted after his flight was forced to land in Phoneix, Arizona.

PSN, which was due to undergo scheduled maintenance yesterday, appears to be running properly today.

Sony and PlayStation have proved a popular target for hackers in the past, most notably in 2011, when details of up to 77m of its users were stolen.

The attack, which saw passwords, usernames and contact details stolen, knocked PSN out for several weeks, and led to Sony paying out huge compensation in the form of free games and services.


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