Sony on Sunday said that some of its online services were hit by a DDoS attack by a hacker group, while another group threatened that a plane carrying a company executive was carrying a bomb.
In a post published on Sunday on the PlayStation blog, Sony representatives reassured users that while the DDoS attack had impacted their ability to access services, no personal information has been accessed. Such clarifications seem to be necessary in the case of Sony, ever since the 2011 PlayStation Network breach in which 77 million user accounts were compromised.
Two different hacker groups have taken credit for the attack. One of them is the Lizard Squad, which claimed to have targeted Sony because the company isn’t “spending the waves of cash they obtain on their customers’ PSN service.”
DDoS attacks against popular services are not uncommon, but the Lizard Squad took it one step further and messaged American Airlines on Twitter claiming that explosives were on board the plane carrying John Smedley, the president of Sony Online Entertainment.
Such threats are not taken lightly so the plane traveling from Dallas to San Diego was redirected to Phoenix. The FBI is investigating the bomb threat, but the members of the hacker group seem confident that they can’t be apprehended. On the other hand, Smedley noted on Twitter that “justice will find these guys.”
While the Lizard Squad has taken credit for the DDoS attack, it appears that the downtime is actually the result of a cyberattack launched by a different hacker using the online moniker “FamedGod,” who said he had managed to hit a Sony server at 263.35 Gbps by using Network Time Protocol (NTP) amplification.
“Sony is a company that lacks the security which makes every user vulnerable to having their information leaked. Jailbreaks can access hidden and prohibited content now. Memory dumping can reveal the hidden servers which personal and main information is stored. Simple hex converting and decryption lead to a full DDoS on PlayStation’s main server data center,” FamedGod wrote.
“Please understand, I am here to show, that you as a corporate company are vulnerable. Sony You just launched a new system on a new network but it all leads to the same server. How more vulnerable could you make your network? Take advise from Microsoft and their ways of security. They know what they’re doing and have the security to prevent most attacks. This took little to no effort to preform such an attack,” the hacker added.
“Attacks like this will continue to plague big name companies, thanks to the greater availability of resources for hackers,” Marc Gaffan, Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer at Incapsula, told SecurityWeek. “Persistent DDoS attacks can sometimes last for weeks and in a time when anyone can Google up a ‘botnet for hire’ and use it to execute a 20-40Gbps attack, from several thousands sources, organizations across the world need to re-evaluate their DDoS protection, or risk the consequences.”
According to Verisign’s DDoS trends report for the second quarter of 2014, the average peak size of attacks recorded an increase of 291% year-over-year. Attacks that exceeded 10 Gbps increased by 16% compared to the first quarter, the company said.