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An internet hacker gang, only known as ‘Anonymous’, has declared war on Sony Computer Entertainment, launching a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the company, resulting in customers not being allowed access to any of Playstation’s online services for a short period of time, including the Playstation blog and the Playstation store. This attack is said to be retaliation against the legal action that Sony made against George “GeoHot” Hotz earlier this year, who has been accused of writing and distributing software to hack PS3 system’s to run unauthorised software, including Linux and pirate copies of videogames. The distribution of what is known as “Jailbreaker” software led to Sony sending out emails to all PS3 user’s who were found to use the software, and to stop using it immediately. Failure to adhere their warning would lead to being permanently banned from the Playstation Network.
Following the online attacks against Sony, referred to as “Operation Payback”, it is now apparent that the dirty tactics are taken to a much more personal level, as a splinter group of Anonymous, called ‘SonyRecon’, now aims to collect personal information on employees of Sony, including the marital status and home addresses of Sony Executives, and lawyers who are involved in the Hotz court case. The hackers claimed that the individuals that they would attack are “useful targets”.
Anonymous claims that the attack against Sony is because of their abuse of copywrite law, and an infringement on personal freedom such as privacy.
Despite the groups protests, Sony have recently denied that the temporary downtime of their online services was not because of hackers, stating “PSN is currently undergoing sporadic maintenance. Access to the PSN may be interrupted throughout the day. We apologise for any inconvenience.” It is reported that a number of the global sites that were attacked have suffered intermittent disruption, but all appears to be back to normal since Tuesday morning.
Sony is apparently not the only corporate titan that has been targeted by the hacker group. Companies including Mastercard, Vista and Amazon have also allegedly fell victim to Anonymous.