If this were a movie, you'd have to conclude Sony has angered a vengeful enemy. After a hack that took down Sony Pictures Entertainment two weeks ago -- and subsequently opened the door for hackers to leak yet-to-be-released films and steal employee data -- Sony's PlayStation Network has been hit.
This time, Sony Computer Entertainment, which runs the Sony PlayStation Network, came under attack. In a published statement Monday, Sony said it had no knowledge of data loss following the hit on its online services for the popular video game console, which put it offline for several hours Monday morning.
"We are still investigating the incident, including possible causes of it, but we haven't found any trace of any sorts of information leaked out," a company's spokesman said. The systems have been restored, but the company confirmed the PlayStation Network was offline from 8:52 a.m.. to 11:18 a.m. ET, making it impossible for gamers to buy new titles or interact with others on the platform.
Sony: A Hacker Favorite?
Sony is no stranger to breaches. Sony's PlayStation Network was hacked in 2011 and attackers obtained data on 77 million user accounts. There is yet no indication that the latest attack is that severe, but a massive data leak cannot yet be ruled out.
Sony Pictures' computer systems went down on in late November in the wake of reported hack attacks. Before the shutdown, a message on Sony's internal computer screens read "Hacked By #GOP," according to The Los Angeles Times. The Times reported the acronym stands for "Guardians of Peace," a hacker group.
The message also offered a list of threats, and told Sony it had "secrets." The message said: "We've already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met....If you don't obey us, we'll release data shown below to the world."
North Korea was suspected in the hack but has denied responsibility.
Lizard Squad Promises More
Although there is no evidence that the two attacks are related -- specifically that the latest attack on PlayStation is retaliation for Sony's failure to obey some mystery command -- it is possible that a coordinated attack is under way.
The Lizard Squad is taking responsibility for the Sony PlayStation attack in a Twitter post. Last week, the group claimed it took down Xbox Live. This is the same Lizard Squad that executed a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that crashed Sony's PlayStation and Entertainment Network back in August. After the Xbox attack, another Lizard Squad tweet promised, "That's a small dose of what's to come on Christmas."