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Sony’s entertainment network forced offline by DDoS attack, possibly by ISIS supporters

By | Published on Tuesday 26 August 2014

Sony Corp

Entertainment congloms like Sony have had their online networks targeted by so called Distributed Denial Of Service attacks before, though usually such initiatives are led by anti-copyright or anti-capitalist campaigners, not groups claiming allegiance to jihadist fighters.

Sony’s PlayStation and Entertainment Network, which includes the firm’s streaming music service, went offline this weekend after a DDoS attack swamped the company’s servers. Though unlike the infamous attack on Sony’s networks in 2011, this time no data was grabbed during the DDoS.

The source of the server attack is not certain, though a Twitter feed using the handle @LizardSquad claimed responsibility.

Initially the Twitter account said the attack had been instigated because Sony wasn’t spending enough of the income generated from the PlayStation Network on enhancing the service. But then it later tweeted “today we planted the ISIS flag on @Sony’s servers”, alongside a photo of a man carrying the flag of the Islamic State movement (known until recently as the Islamic State Of Iraq And Syria, aka ISIS).

The DDoS coincided with drama in the US after a plane carrying the President of Sony Online Entertainment, John Smedley, was diverted after bomb threats were made online, including on the @LizardSquad Twitter feed. American Airlines Flight 362, flying from Dallas to San Diego, was redirected to Phoenix as a result of the bomb threat.

Smedley later tweeted: “Yes. My plane was diverted. Not going to discuss more than that. Justice will find these guys”.

It’s hard to know whether @LizardSquad really does represent the group behind this weekend’s DDoS attacks; Microsoft’s Xbox network was also reportedly targeted. It’s also not clear whether the feed really does have any formal or informal links to ISIS. Though the online manifestations of the current conflict in Iraq and Syria have been notable of course, both those that have been shocking, and those that are more mundane.

With that in mind the now defunct post-metal band also called ISIS have been forced to rename their Facebook profile to Isis The Band, after some confused web surfers started posting angry messages on it. The band split in 2010, but kept the Facebook profile to update fans on band members’ other projects.

The outfit’s former drummer Aaron Harris, speaking to ABC News about people getting his ex-band confused with the ISIS that is dominating headlines this year, said: “It certainly caught us off guard. Fans have emailed us that they’re reluctant to wear our t-shirts now and we’ve also gotten some off-colour comments”.