Playstation Network (PSN) is Down

Things started on Thursday – I had just received my copy of Portal 2 from Amazon so it was especially inconvenient. I’ve since gotten many an achievement… who knows if they’ll show up on my account once it’s back online. It also means I can’t do multiplayer, which is just as well because my buddy Jay finished his single player campaign yesterday. I’ve got another 4 Chapters, and fairly stuck right now.

So back to the actual outage – here’s what’s going down:
Sony initially had some weird error popping up, they said online the servers were down for maintenance. They’ve since been able to get the same message on the PS3 when you attempt to sign on, that the servers are offline for maintenance. The whole service is offline, Sony took it down. That means that many online services on the PS3 are not working. Hulu Plus included, and though Netflix gets an error when attempting to sign in, you can still hit circle after the sign in fails and proceed to Netflix. Many other games which use an PSN based registration check are also down (Capcom purchases from the PS store, for example).

Apparently this all started with an external breach. The primary server was being hit repeatedly, and there is rumor that even some admin dev accounts were hacked. Anonymous, a hacker group known for it’s size and power was suspected, due to earlier attacks this month brought on by Sony’s attempt to track down the PS3 root hacker George Holtz. They’re going after him due to his efforts in cracking the base code for the PS3, opening it up to game copies, running Linux again, and the ability to turn the part time computer / gaming system into a generally full featured computer enabling the specific graphics power to be harnessed by whatever process can be written.

After they were originally suspected, Anonymous put out an img and later video statement that they were not officially behind it. There are many arms of Anonymous worldwide, so it’s certainly possible that a member acted alone, or in a small group, but “Anon Ops” was not aware and not behind this attack. This is where the speculation starts, as there is a video from last week, purporting to be Anonymous and stating the resolution Sony recently came to with Holtz was insubstantial, calling for a boycott and warning Sony they would have to answer for their actions. No one really knows if they’re denying by default, but I can’t think of a reason they wouldn’t assume responsibility if they were the ones behind it, so it could be someone using what Anonymous learned from their attacks and taking it a step further. Whatever it was it was enough to scare Sony into rethinking the whole service design, enough to keep it offline and recode it in a hurry.

Sony is taking this time to recode much of the service while it is down to prevent this sort of thing in the future. I can imagine how crazy they must all be working right now. The short answer as to when it may be back up is Tuesday, but here’s the general rundown of articles stating basically the same thing – whatever they can gather from internet rumor and official words from Sony’s blog, which are not elaborating on much.

*update* 4/25/2011 – 20:29 EST – It appears as a recent hack titled “Rebug” was responsible. Once a basic instructional was published showing how to provide fake credit card information to PSN from the dev network (a trusted source) and thereby gain an unlimited ammount of money to download whatever you wanted. This is a huge issue from a reliability standpoint – how can they vouch themselves to content providers as a secure service if they’ve got this rampant piracy going on. I smell Dreamcast brewing…
[added link below]

*update* 4/26/2011 – 19:48 EST – Sony has confirmed that user account information may have also been stolen. Names, birth dates, addresses, and possibly credit card information (they haven’t been able to prove one way or the other). This, my friends, is another reason to use an internet birthday. It won’t match with what is in your federal file, so if they go to do something super vile like open a line of credit, it will raise a flag and hopefully lead to their being bagged for it.
[added link below]

*update* 5/15/2011 – 12:09 EST – After a multi-tier update of an intial update (probobly pointing to a new server) and then another once it restarts again it appears that PSN is back. I logged in, and Hulu is working as well. Let Portal 2 commence! I’m just glad they fixed it before LA NOIRE (which comes out on Tuesday).

Anonymous’ Satement
Editorial: Sony is Using Anonymous as a ScapeGoat
Video Statement from Anonymous and Video Warning from Last Week
…and now it looks like Tuesday?
Apparently it was a new DEV hack that did it – allowing virtually unlimited PSN content downloading
Sony’s release about the user information issue
User Information May Have Been Comprimised

The comments are worth reading on almost all of these, especially the official Anonymous page (anonnews.org)

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