At around 3:00 AM, Eastern time, the PlayStation Network went down without notice. Anyone who was in the middle of a kill-streak was suddenly cut off from the service and redirected to the menu of the game they were playing. So far, for about nine hours (over on this side of the world, at least), the PlayStation Network has been down and out of commission.
The reasons for the outage are unknown, but many are suspecting that the internet group Anonymous is responsible. The group threatened attacks on the servers and Sony itself after the debacle involving Sony's war with George "Geohot" Hotz. Geohot was, and still is, associated with taking a PlayStation 3 console, and -- after some serious tweaking -- unlocking some of the potential of the machine, such as backwards compatibility emulation (the ability to play PlayStation 2 games, something Sony has squashed since removing the feature from the first PS3 released) and home-brew functionality.
Sony went after Geohot with every ounce of their power, and went through YouTube, Twitter, Google, and his personal website to find any and everyone who ever visited his site. After a while, Sony and Geohot hit a standstill, and reached a settlement out of court. Of course, Geohot is under the obligation of never hacking a Sony device ever again, except while under Sony's supervision.
This all attracted the attention of Anonymous, the "hack-tivists," as some call them. However, not everyone finds Anonymous' activities as admirable as others do, and Sony, as many can guess, weren't too pleased when Anonymous delivered this message to their doors:
"You have abused the judicial system in an attempt to censor information on how your products work. You have victimized your own customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target every person who seeks this information. In doing so, you have violated the privacy of thousands."
Anonymous is famous, in the sense that they have the habit of banding together and making a big impact when they find a target. However, as with all major hacking groups, there are negatives and positives to keep in mind. The recent downing of the PlayStation Network is being attributed to them, mostly from unofficial sources. Sony released a statement about the outage on the PlayStation Blog warning users that it could be some time before the service will be back on its feet.
"While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running. Thank you very much for your patience while we work to resolve this matter. Please stay tuned to this space for more details, and we’ll update you again as soon as we can."
If, in fact, this is the big attack warned of by Anonymous, then it will be felt by not only Sony, but by anyone with a PS3 and an internet connection used for online gaming. Anonymous hasn't stepped up yet to claim responsibility for the attack.
Keep your eyes on Game Rant for more details as they unfold.