Hacktivists from Anonymous and from a presumed Islamic extremist group targeted a variety of online gaming services.
Services are up and running again after a denial of service took down Sony’s PlayStation Network for much of Sunday, coinciding with a bomb threat on American Airlines flight 362, which carried John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. The threats caused the airline to divert the flight.
Other online gaming services — including Microsoft’s XBox Live, Eve Online, and the services that host World of Warcraft and Diablo III — also experienced disruptions. The culprits seem to be hacktivists, but just which hacktivists is unclear, because several are trying to take credit for the attack, citing different motives.
One group, Lizard Squad, took credit for the attacks and presented two motives on Twitter. One tweet Sunday morning said that Sony “aren’t spending the waves of cash they obtain on their customers’ PSN service. End the greed.” A subsequent tweet stated, “Kuffar [non-believers] don’t get to play videogames until bombing of the ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] stops.” The account made many references to the Islamic extremist group ISIS.
On Sunday afternoon, Lizard Squad also tweeted the cryptic message “[email protected] We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley’s plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this.”
The group tweeted at Smedley with the hashtag #PrayForFlight362 and a video from 2001 of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center.
On a separate account, a hacker associated with Anonymous claimed responsibility for the attack, showing screen shots to prove the work and stating that the attack was launched to highlight vulnerabilities in the PlayStation Network.
Microsoft confirmed that some customers were experiencing disruptions. However, it seems that Lizard Squad found that Microsoft’s XBox Live network was sturdier than Sony’s. The group tweeted Monday, “Microsoft props to you for giving us a challenge, good work. Sony, smh [shaking my head].”
Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad of other topics. She authored the 2009 CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey and founded the CSI Working Group on Web Security Research Law — a collaborative project that investigated the dichotomy between laws regulating software vulnerability disclosure and those regulating Web vulnerability disclosure.