Hackers Took Down Sony's PlayStation Network To Show Lax Security

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 11:57 AM

 

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Despite a breach in 2011 that exposed the names and passwords of millions of customers on the PlayStation Network, Sony finds itself having to fix another significant security flaw.

A hacker group called Lizard Squad on Sunday claimed to take down the PSN via a similar distributed denial of service (DDos) attack, which prevented users from streaming Netflix movies or playing multiplayer games online via their PlayStation Plus accounts.

On its Twitter feed, Sunday, Lizard Squad posted that it was "preaching" that Sony should be spending more money to protect its customers' accounts from such hacks.

It tweeted: "Sony, yet another large company, but they aren't spending the waves of cash they obtain on their customers' PSN service. End the greed."

The group also spent the weekend attacking other gaming servers like Blizzard Entertainment's Battle.net, Riot Games' "League of Legends," and Grinding Gear Games' "Path of Exile."

In 2011, a hacker called Anonymous attacked the same PSN network, exposing the personal information, including passwords and credit card data, of 77 million accounts. It took Sony 24 days to fix the problem, and spent $15 million to settle a class action lawsuit.

This time, the problem exposed by Lizard Squad could prove even more serious.

Sony is now charging subscribers a $50 a year fee for members to play mulitplayer games through the PlayStation Network, whereas doing so was free before. And with Sony having sold more than 10 million PlayStation 4 videogame consoles so far, that's a lot of consoles -- and data -- that could become vulnerable to future hacks.

Lizard Squad certainly took the hack to extremes over the weekend, calling out terrorist organization ISIS with a tweet: "Today we planted the ISIS flag on @Sony's servers #ISIS #jihad" and posting tweets to American Airlines about a bomb threat on an American Airlines flight that carried Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley.

The plane landed in Phoenix, with Smedley responding via Twitter: "Yes. My plane was diverted. Not going to discuss more than that. Justice will find these guys."

The PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network are now back online. A scheduled maintenance of the networks, which were set to occur Monday, has been canceled, Sony said on its PlayStation blog.

"The networks were taken offline due to a distributed denial of service attack. We have seen no evidence of any intrusion to the network and no evidence of any unauthorized access to users' personal information. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused by this issue. Thanks for your patience and support."

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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