'Lizard Squad' Targets Sony in New DDoS Attack

3 minute read
Noreen Seebacher avatar

2014-24-August-John-Smedley .jpg

Today brought more hacker woes for Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) and Sony Entertainment Network in the form of a crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoSattack from a vandal collective known as "Lizard Squad.”

In addition, the FBI is investigating the diversion of a flight carrying a top Sony executive amid reports of a claim that explosives were on board. An American Airlines flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley from Dallas to San Diego was grounded because of a bomb threat.

It appears that the same group behind the current PlayStation Network outage is responsible for the bomb threat on flight 362, which was safely diverted to Phoenix. The group, in fact, retweeted Smedley's tweet: 

Ongoing Problem

The attack persisted for most of the day Sunday. That left the PSN, which is accessed daily by tens of millions of people worldwide, down for most of the day. Late last night, Sony indicated service was slowly being restored.

Learning Opportunities

Sony noted in a posting on its PlayStation blog Sunday that no personal information on the network was accessed in the attack, which overwhelmed the system with heavy traffic. "We will continue to work towards fixing this issue and hope to have our services up and running as soon as possible," it stated.

Incapsula, a cloud based website security company that recently mitigated a 38 day long DDoS attack on another gaming website, noted that DDoS attacks have become the weapon of choice for the modern hacker. Marc Gaffan, co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Incapsula, said DDoS attacks like the one affecting the PlayStation Network are up 240 percent in 2014. He added:

Attacks like this will continue to plague big name companies, thanks to the greater availability of resources for hackers. Persistent DDoS attacks can sometimes last for weeks and in a time when anyone can Google up a 'botnet for hire' and use it to execute a 20 to 40Gbps attack from several thousands sources, organizations across the world need to re-evaluate their DDoS protection or risk the consequences.”  

The point of the attack, apparently, is that Sony isn't doing enough to protect its customers — a message of potential interest to other marketers.

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