Sony’s online PlayStation Network, which allows millions of users access to games, movies and more, has been effectively dead since yesterday. Attempting to sign in yields the abrupt message: “PlayStation Network is currently undergoing maintenance.”
Despite the striking similarity and comparable timing with Anonymous’ recent attacks on the company (most agree the group was responsible for a sporadic PSN outage two weeks ago), the hacker collective has denied any involvement.
Sony officially confirmed game forum rumblings with a post on its official U.S. PlayStation blog Thursday which did little to explain the widespread outage:
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.
Anonymous issued a statement (humorously titled “For Once We Didn’t Do it”) to clarify the downtime has nothing to do with them, as per its previous decision to stop targeting PSN and Sony websites via DDoS attacks.
“AnonOps was not related to this incident and takes no responsibility for it,” read the message. The group, however, did not rule out the notion that individual members went rogue.
Furthermore, Anonymous suggested Sony may actually be attempting to leverage past attacks against it for misdirection and consumer sympathy. It’s evidence? A recently-deleted post at the company’s EU blog that brought up the possibility that a cyber attack caused the unscheduled downtime.
The outage’s scope and severity, coupled with the lack of information, fuels healthy speculation that Anonymous attack or no, this might not be the result of a standard server-side technical issue.
MyCE reached out to SCEA for comment and will update this post as necessary if one is received.
[UPDATE: Patrick Seybold, Senior Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media for SCEA, has just updated the Official U.S. PlayStation Blog and confirmed the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services have indeed been targeted by an “external intrusion,” resulting in the company willingly shutting down both in light of the ongoing investigation.]
[UPDATE #2: It seems PSN and Qriocity may have been hit much harder than first thought. SCEA stated in a new update on Saturday that it is working “around the clock” to bring both services back online quickly, admitting the process involves “re-building our system.” The longer-than-expected outage started on Wednesday, and with SCEA implementing “additional security” it’s unclear when the services will be back up and running.]