If you, like me, tried to jump onto your PlayStation 4 yesterday and spin up some games, you might’ve noticed some issues with that. As it happens, Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) was targeted by a hacker group called Lizard Squad, who unleashed a DDOS attack on the network and kept many from being able to log into the network. Even more disturbing, Lizard Squad was able to ground a plane carrying Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley by Tweeting false claims about bombs being onboard.
Yesterday, the PlayStation Blog offered up this message about the DDOS hit, which also managed to snag Blizzard’s Battle.Net servers:
“Like other major networks around the world, the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network have been impacted by an attempt to overwhelm our network with artificially high traffic.
Although this has impacted your ability to access our network and enjoy our services, no personal information has been accessed.”
Later that evening, the blog posted an update saying that the PSN and Sony Entertainment Network were back up and running, and reiterated that they had “seen no evidence of any intrusion to the network and no evidence of any unauthorized access to users’ personal information.”
An interesting side-effect of the DDOS attack was that it didn’t simply prevent gamers from buying new content from Sony’s online stores or engaging in online multiplayer; because many games provided via PlayStation Plus are only free to subscribers, users couldn’t send confirmation to the PSN that they owned the license to play those games. As you may remember, Microsoft had plans to force gamers to connect once every 24 hours to the Xbox LIVE network to confirm license ownership for Xbox One titles. If an attack like this had hit Xbox LIVE if that plan had gone forward, or if Sony required the same authentication for disc-based games, it would have been devastating. This DDOS attack serves as proof that relying exclusively on online networks rather than giving users the option to use offline, physical game media.
As to John Smedley’s plane, American Airlines declined to comment on what happened, but the Sony exec’s Twitter Account seemed to confirm that his flight was diverted as a result of the bomb threats:
Yes. My plane was diverted. Not going to discuss more than that. Justice will find these guys.
— John Smedley (@j_smedley) August 24, 2014
Creepy. Were you affected at all by yesterday’s hacks?