Sony Corporation took its online gaming platform, the PlayStation Network (PSN), offline over the weekend in the face of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. As of Sunday, the company said the PSN is back online and that game play can resume.
Sony is saying that it has seen no evidence of any intrusion into the network, and it does not believe that the attackers were able to access any personal user information.
Reuters and others have reported that the attack coincided with a bomb threat leveled against a commercial airline said to be carrying a top Sony executive.
The incident is reminiscent of a 2011 attack in which the PlayStation Network was offline for nearly one month following a data breach that exposed the personal and payment information some 77 million customer accounts.
Sony first acknowledged the outage with its PlayStation Twitter handle at 12:18 p.m. EDT Sunday. The company issued a tweet announcing that they had restored service to the network at 2:26 a.m. Monday, some 14 hours later.
A hacker group calling itself Lizard Squad took credit for the attacks on Twitter:
“Sony, yet another large company, but they aren’t spending the waves of cash they obtain on their customers’ PSN service. End the greed.”
John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment characterized the attack as a “large scale DDoS” on his personal Twitter account during the outage. He would later note that the attack was upstream and out of Sony’s control because the attackers were “flooding the routes to [the PSN].”
Smedley also tweeted that his flight was diverted for security reasons, but would not go into further detail.
“It diverted to Phoenix due to a security related issue,” American Airlines spokeswoman Michelle Mohr told several news outlets. “And the flight was met by authorities.”
There has been little elaboration on the nature of the “security related issue” that caused the redirect. However, Lizard Squad issued a series of threatening tweets around that time suggesting that there were explosives on board flight 362.
In a series of befuddling tweets, Lizard Squad at first claimed they attacked Sony as a response to corporate greed within the Japan-based electronics company. Since then the group has attempted to affiliate themselves with the Islamic State, which has taken control of wide swaths of Iraq and Syria in recent months, and has more recently been the target of U.S. drone strikes.
Sony has decided to postpone scheduled maintenance that was planned for today as a result of the downtime.