Sony Admits PlayStation Network ‘Affected’ by External Attackers

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Sony claims its PlayStation Network was attacked by unidentified outside forces, and said that it preemptively shut the 70 million subscriber service down.

In his third update since the outage began on Wednesday evening, April 20th, Sony senior director of corporate communications and social media Patrick Seybold wrote on the official PlayStation blog that

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 reference to “external intrusion” implies hacking of some sort, but it’s unclear yet who’s responsible. Hacker group Anonymous, known for recent attempts to bring the PlayStation Network low, posted a note last night titled “For Once We Didn’t Do It.” The note cites Sony’s European PlayStation blog as claiming the network outage may have been the result of “targeted behavior by an outside party.” But those words no longer appear in any of the PlayStation EU blog’s posts–currently identical to entries posted by Sony’s Patrick Seybold to the U.S. version.

Anonymous acknowledges “it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves,” but says it wasn’t an official AnonOps undertaking, that the group “does not take responsibility for whatever has happened,” and suggests that Sony “is taking advantage of Anonymous’ previous ill-will towards the company to distract users from the fact that the outage is actually an internal problem with the company’s servers.”

To sum up: The PlayStation Network remains down as we head into the weekend (three days after it went dark Wednesday evening), Sony claims that outage was a voluntary and preemptive move on its part to facilitate a full investigation, and the most likely culprit claims it wasn’t officially involved.

We’ll keep you apprised of further developments through the weekend.

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