Sony had a rough weekend. And not just Sony; last weekend wasn’t the best time to be a gamer. Here’s the skinny…
Early yesterday morning, Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN for short) was hit with a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, causing it to crash temporarily and hamper online play for many PlayStation gamers.
Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley quickly took to Twitter to let users know about the attack before tweeting that he’d be offline for three hours as he flew back to San Diego from Dallas on AA Flight #362. Well, not long after the plane took off, someone tweeted to American Airlines that “it was receiving reports that [Sony Online Entertainment CEO John Smedley]‘s plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this.” That, plus a handful of references to the 9/11 attacks.
The plane was quickly diverted to Phoenix, where it would be checked for explosives (thankfully, there were none to be found as far as anyone knows).
Was the DDoS attack connected to the bomb scare? At first, it sounded like it. The tie? ‘Lizard Squad’.
Who? Let’s start at the beginning, Aka, last Saturday.
According to an ARS Technica report:
“It all started Saturday, when a group going by the handle “Lizard Squad” tweeted links to a number of prominent Twitch streamers, directing followers to target DDoS attacks at servers for Blizzard and League of Legends maker Riot Games. The group’s sophomoric MO: demand that the streamers write “LIZARD SQUAD” on their forehead in marker to get their games back online.”
But what’s the tie to Sony’s PSN going down? @LizardSquad started taking aim at Sony early Sunday morning, coinciding with the outage, and posting the following:
But now, Lizard Squad’s responsibility for the initial PSN attacks is in question. According to numerous reports, a hacker going by the handle @FamedGod is taking credit for the attack. He’s tweeted ‘proof’ (see below) and posted a on YouTube (link below).
PSN Vulnerability (YouTube Video)
While the origin of the attack remains a mystery (we’ll be keeping eye on the story as new details emerge), it’s now clear that Sony wasn’t the only target of the DDoS attacks. As mentioned in the aforementioned ARS Technica piece, Blizzard (more specifically its Battle.net game services) and Riot Games servers were affected. Xbox Live and Grinding Gear’s ‘Path of Exile’ were also reportedly hit.
As far as the DDoS attacks are concerned, Blizzard tweeted 19 hours ago, saying that “services appear to be stabilizing”… while PSN and Xbox Live seem to be back to their normal, pre-DDoS states.
What about the bomb scare? According to USA Today, an American Airlines spokesperson says the FBI is investigating the issue.