Worst over? Hackers claim responsibility for gamers’ offline misery – CNN

(CNN) — Disrupted PlayStation and Xbox networks frustrated gamers much of Friday, one day after going down on one of the busiest gaming days of the year.

Neither Sony or Microsoft, which own PlayStation and Xbox, respectively, have had much to say about the outages that have kept millions of its gamers from playing one another online, but there were signs Friday evening that it may soon be resolved.

At 2:16 a.m Friday, Microsoft’s verified @XboxSupport account tweeted “Some Xbox One users may currently be experiencing issues signing into Xbox Live,” and directed users to its service website for the latest.

Sony’s official PlayStation support Twitter account posted at 2:30 a.m. ET, “Our engineers are continuing to work hard to resolve the network issues users have experienced today. Thanks for your continued patience.”

More than 14 hours later, at 5:10 p.m, it tweeted pretty much the same thing. “Update: We are working to restore full network services for all platforms — thanks, as always, for your patience!

The 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 comes in the gray color of the original PlayStation and bears other imagery harking back to the history of the console. Only 12,300 will be released globally, a nod to 12/3, or December 3, the date the console was released in Japan in 1994. Here's a look at the console through the years.The 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 comes in the gray color of the original PlayStation and bears other imagery harking back to the history of the console. Only 12,300 will be released globally, a nod to 12/3, or December 3, the date the console was released in Japan in 1994. Here’s a look at the console through the years.
The original PlayStation was a 32-bit console released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and in North America and elsewhere in September of the following year. It sold for $299 and became the first gaming console to ship more than 10 million units over the next decade.The original PlayStation was a 32-bit console released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and in North America and elsewhere in September of the following year. It sold for $299 and became the first gaming console to ship more than 10 million units over the next decade.
Pop superstar Michael Jackson plays Sony's then-new PlayStation in May 1995 as Sony Corp of America CEO Michael Schulhof, left, and Phil Harrison of Sony Computer Entertainment-Europe look on. This photo was taken at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.Pop superstar Michael Jackson plays Sony’s then-new PlayStation in May 1995 as Sony Corp of America CEO Michael Schulhof, left, and Phil Harrison of Sony Computer Entertainment-Europe look on. This photo was taken at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.
The PlayStation's sequel, the PlayStation 2, wasn't released until 2000. It upgraded to a 128-bit "Emotion Engine" CPU and added support for CD-ROMs. It would go on to sell more than 155 million units and run more than 3,870 game titles.The PlayStation’s sequel, the PlayStation 2, wasn’t released until 2000. It upgraded to a 128-bit “Emotion Engine” CPU and added support for CD-ROMs. It would go on to sell more than 155 million units and run more than 3,870 game titles.
Sony PlayStation fans wait in line to purchase the new Sony PlayStation 2 on October 25, 2000 at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco, California. Crowds began waiting at 6:30 a.m. for the $299 game console which went on sale at midnight. PlayStation 2 remains the top-selling video-game console of all time.Sony PlayStation fans wait in line to purchase the new Sony PlayStation 2 on October 25, 2000 at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco, California. Crowds began waiting at 6:30 a.m. for the $299 game console which went on sale at midnight. PlayStation 2 remains the top-selling video-game console of all time.
The PlayStation 3 was released in November 2006. It was the first console to use Blu-Ray disc storage and utilized the online PlayStation Network. Such was the excitement for the new console that there were reports of fans fighting for spaces in line in advance of its release.The PlayStation 3 was released in November 2006. It was the first console to use Blu-Ray disc storage and utilized the online PlayStation Network. Such was the excitement for the new console that there were reports of fans fighting for spaces in line in advance of its release.
Gaming fans play PlayStation 3's Hitman Absolution at the E3 videogame extravaganza in Los Angeles on June7, 2012. Some 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, retailers and journalists from over a hundered countries attended the expo.Gaming fans play PlayStation 3’s Hitman Absolution at the E3 videogame extravaganza in Los Angeles on June7, 2012. Some 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, retailers and journalists from over a hundered countries attended the expo.
The PlayStation 3 was first announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2005, and was released in late 2006. It was originally available with 20 and 60 GB hard drives, but later, gamers could buy up to 500 GB of storage for the machinesThe PlayStation 3 was first announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2005, and was released in late 2006. It was originally available with 20 and 60 GB hard drives, but later, gamers could buy up to 500 GB of storage for the machines
The PS4 heralded the console world's move into multi-media, offering a Blu-ray player as well as the ability to stream Web video from apps like Netflix. Launched in November 2013, its computing power and graphics were significantly advanced from previous models.The PS4 heralded the console world’s move into multi-media, offering a Blu-ray player as well as the ability to stream Web video from apps like Netflix. Launched in November 2013, its computing power and graphics were significantly advanced from previous models.
Joey Chiu, 24, of Brooklyn, left, buys the first PlayStation 4 sold in North America at a launch event presented by Sony Entertainment Network on November 14 in New York City.Joey Chiu, 24, of Brooklyn, left, buys the first PlayStation 4 sold in North America at a launch event presented by Sony Entertainment Network on November 14 in New York City.
So-called next generation consoles like the PS4 have pushed new boundaries with their graphics capabilities. When "Dark Sorcerer," a comedic demo, was shown on a PlayStation 4 last year, some at a Sony event weren't sure whether they were seeing animation or live actors.So-called next generation consoles like the PS4 have pushed new boundaries with their graphics capabilities. When “Dark Sorcerer,” a comedic demo, was shown on a PlayStation 4 last year, some at a Sony event weren’t sure whether they were seeing animation or live actors.

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Happy 20th birthday, PlayStationHappy 20th birthday, PlayStation

But based on the overall sentiment expressed in the comments posted to message boards and on Twitter, the collective patience among PlayStation users is offline as well.

“@AskPlayStation has been tweeting that for hours now since last night,” user christopha710 posted on Sony’s PlayStation 4 support forum. “I’m getting rid of this piece of trash and going back too [sic] pc gaming”

“Totally not cool,” allenjaelee said late Friday morning. “I’ve tried so many times and am unable to play.”

Sony hacked again?

Some users talked of a possible hack.

“This is so frustrating,” wrote calin75. “The hackers think they’re hurting Sony, but the ones that really pay for this bull crap are the innocent users.”

If it turns out that this was indeed a cyberattack, chances are it was done by Lizard Squad, a band of black-hat hackers who have claimed responsibility.

CNN cannot confirm the identity or claims of the group, and PlayStation hasn’t said anything beyond that it was working to fix the problem. For its part, Xbox spokesman Sean McCarthy told CNN that “we don’t share info on the root cause of specific issues.”

But there is little reason to doubt their claims.

In August, Lizard Squad said it took down the PlayStation Network by flooding it with illegitimate traffic, something called a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) in the video game world, resulting in millions of gamers being unable to play together online.

As CNNMoney reported at the time, when John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, tweeted about those “large scale” attacks, he became a target himself — even at 30,000 feet.

“We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley’s plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this,” the group tweeted to American Airlines, resulting in the flight being diverted.

Earlier this month, Sony was hit with a similar outage that Lizard Squad not only took credit for, but it promised additional “Christmas presents” would soon be coming. “Unlike Santa, we don’t like giving all of our Christmas presents out on one day. This entire month will be entertaining,” Lizard Squad tweeted.

At 6:13 p.m. Friday, a Lizard Squad twitter handle tweeted, “ALL ATTACKS ON PSN AND XBOX HAVE STOPPED.” When a CNN reporter hit refresh moments later on the Sony Entertainment Network website — which had been down since Thursday evening — it was back online. Microsoft’s service page was still reporting ‘limited service,’ however.

Stupid coincidence?

The network downtime started just hours after Microsoft’s Xbox video store started to stream the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.” The movie was made by Sony Pictures, a sibling of Sony’s PlayStation division.

Sony was the victim of a massive cyberattack in late November that was widely believed to be motivated, at least in part, by North Korea’s anger over “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un.

But there was no indication that Thursday’s problems were in any way connected to the movie’s digital release.

Other participating distributors of the movie, such as YouTube, were unaffected. And PlayStation is not participating in the release.

A Sony Pictures spokesman deferred to PlayStation for comment about the outage.

CNN’s Ben Brumfield, Steve Almasy, Brian Stelter and Tony Marco contributed to this report.



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