As many frustrated PlayStation 3 owners are already aware, the PlayStation Network has been knocked offline since Wednesday of this past week. Sony had been vague as to why the system was down and gamers began to speculate as to whether the hacktivist group, Anonymous, had returned for a second round in its battle with Sony or whether the recent earthquakes in Japan had caused unforeseen technical problems. Late Friday, Sony finally clarified that the outage was not due to a glitch in the network, but was caused by hackers.
On PlayStation’s official blog, Patrick Seybold, Sony’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media, released the following statement:
An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. In order to conduct a thorough investigation and to verify the smooth and secure operation of our network services going forward, we turned off PlayStation Network & Qriocity services on the evening of Wednesday, April 20th. Providing quality entertainment services to our customers and partners is our utmost priority. We are doing all we can to resolve this situation quickly, and we once again thank you for your patience. We will continue to update you promptly as we have additional information to share.
The same statement was published on PlayStation’s European blog as well. Still unclear is whether this is the work of Anonymous or some other hacker group. Sony did not release any further information as to when the PlayStation Network would resume normal service or whether any private information from PSN accounts had been compromised.
Sony’s confrontation and subsequent settlement with George “GeoHot” Hotz, may have stirred up a hornet’s nest in the hacking community. While Sony is certainly entitled to try to protect its intellectual property, the company may be regretting its aggressive litigation approach as the costs could begin to outweigh the benefits.
Unfortunately, the timing of these attacks could not have been worse as the inability of Sony to protect its network from these external forces has prevented PlayStation 3 owners from playing popular recent releases, Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, and SOCOM 4 online. Hopefully, Sony will be able to resolve the network security issues before the conclusion of the weekend. Until then, we’ll continue to update you as more information comes available.