A group of hackers targeting gaming networks successfully disrupted Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) and Microsoft’s Xbox Live (XBL) over the weekend, before diverting a plane carrying Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley by claiming his flight was carrying explosives.
The group claiming responsibility for the attacks have identified themselves as @LizardSquad on Twitter. They apparently targeted both PSN and XBL using a distributed denial of service attack – a method that directs an overwhelming volume of traffic at a target to take it offline.
After a few hours of patchy access on Sunday, Sony released a statement confirming the attack and clarifying that they had “seen no evidence of any intrusion to the network and no evidence of any unauthorized access to users’ personal information.”
Xbox Live was also targeted over the weakened and remains at least partially affected, with Microsoft posting a message asking users to report any difficulties regarding “server unavailability issues” and adding that it will update its users once it has more information.
Patchy coverage on both XBL and PSN ;)— Lizard Squad (@LizardSquad) August 25, 2014
On Sunday the Lizard Squad Twitter account also contacted American Airlines claiming that they had received reports that Mr Smedley’s plane was carrying “explosives on-board”.
This threat was enough to have the flight diverted and grounded in Phoenix, tweeted Mr Smedley, with the Sony executive later releasing a statement saying: “I can confirm that at this time the FBI is handling this directly”.
During the incident Lizard Squad retweeted messages from passengers onboard the flight complaining about the delays before tweeting directly at Mr Smedley himself, sending him a video clip of the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center with an audio clip from the videogame Counter Strike declaring “terrorists win”.
The group's run of disruption is apparently not yet over, and after targeting Battle.net on Monday (the online network responsible for Blizzard games including Hearthstone and Dota 2) the group has apparently begun targeting blogging site Tumblr, posting the following message this morning:
How's Tumblr doing?— Lizard Squad (@LizardSquad) August 26, 2014