Hackers Knock Out PlayStation Network, Divert Sony Executive’s Plane

HONG KONG – Sony said today that its PSN Sony Entertainment Network are back online after a high profile hacking attack.

Hackers also caused the diversion of a flight from Dallas to San Francisco carrying John Smedley, the president of Sony Online Entertainment.

The American Airlines plane diverted to Phoenix after hackers calling themselves the Lizard Squad used Twitter to announce that the flight was carrying explosives. After inspection on the ground, no explosives were found.

“The PSN and Sony Entertainment Network are back online and people can now enjoy the services on their PlayStation devices. The networks were taken offline due to a distributed denial of service attack. We have seen no evidence of any intrusion to the network and no evidence of any unauthorized access to users’ personal information. In light of today’s issue, the networks will not undergo the regularly scheduled maintenance, which was planned for Tuesday, August 26. We will provide an update shortly for when the maintenance will be rescheduled. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused by this issue. Thanks for your patience and support,” said Sony in an updated statement posted on Sunday U.S. time and Monday in Asia.

Earlier on Sunday the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant confirmed that the PlayStation Network had been attacked by distributed denial of service. It insisted that while the service went offline, users’ personal information had not been accessed.

While the disruption to PSN online connectivity appears to be short-lived, the attack is another blow to Sony and a significant one, given the importance of the PS4 to the beleaguered company. In 2011, an earlier hacking attack caused the breach of some 77 million personal accounts. The company paid out $15 million in compensation.

The success of the the latest iteration of the PlayStation console has helped the conglomerate at a time when it is struggling to turn around its other loss-making hardware businesses, notably television set manufacturing. Sales of PS4, which were recently confirmed as exceeding 10 million units, helped Sony surprise investors with a rare piece of good news, a first quarter profit.

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