Anonymous hackers launch attacks against Sony

Yesterday MyGaming reported on the intent of the Anonymous hacking outfit, who had warned Sony of their imminent offensive in retribution for their continued persecution of PS3 hackers George ‘GeoHot’ Hotz and a cohort going by the handle of graf_chokolo. This hacking attack operation has been dubbed ‘OpSony’ and is being coordinated through an IRC channel.

It seems that their plans have been set in motion, and the first wave of an offensive has been launched to show they mean business. Yesterday evening and (including the PC PlayStation Store) succumbed to distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). A DDoS is a rudimentary yet effective way to bring down a website by overloading the server with requests from multiple sources.

The beauty of such attacks is that a fairly simple software package and accompanying server settings can be distributed to Anonymous hacking ‘foot-soldiers’ (aka script kiddies)who may not have hacking talents themselves, but nonetheless want to contribute to the offensive.  An example of such a software package is Low Orbit Ion Cannon (an affectionate moniker born of a meme referring to a weapon in the Command & Conquer series).

At the time of writing, both websites appear to be up, although painfully slow. This could indicate that the DDoS attacks have died down for the time being. It was also reported that the website of the legal group representing Sony, Kilpatrick Townsend, had been taken down earlier, but that site is also now back up.

The PSN was said to be experiencing intermittent connection problems. Sony responded by saying that “PSN [is] currently undergoing sporadic maintenance. Access to the PSN may be interrupted throughout the day. We apologize for any inconvenience.” This would rather break from conventions for Sony, who typically make it well known when they will be taking PSN offline for maintenance. The plot thickens…

A document apparently posted by an Anonymous hacker breaks down into simple terms the details of the PS3 hacking case, why they believe Sony’s case has no merit, and why Anonymous feels they need to step in and lend their support against Sony. They also list additional targets; and

Anonymous has released a video promising that these attacks will continue. I’m not sure if the continued reference to sticking sexual organs into insect nests is undermining the whole thing, or evolving into a snappy signature catchphrase.

Due to the flat and essentially leaderless hierarchy of the Anonymous hacking movement, it appears that anyone can assume a leadership role and motivate particular angles of this offensive. An OpSony breakaway group, SonyRecon, has formed with the clear intent to gather personal information on as many Sony employees as possible.

With names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mails in hand, Anonymous can embark on a psychological warfare campaign. Examples include:

•    Craigslist – Make an ad in the “free stuff” section, or in “erotic services” and “casual encounters” as is evident here there are many horny men who will relentlessly pursue someone who they believe to be 19/f.

•    STD Postcards – send one of these e-postcards notifying the target that one of their previous sexual partners has a STD. Makes for an uncomfortable wait for them. Alternatively call an AIDS hotline and ask them to anonymously tell the target they could have HIV, that’s a 6 month wait until the test comes back.

•    Free UPS Boxes create an account and order the target a couple of hundred boxes & labels, fedex also offer free boxes.

•    Google Maps use Google maps to locate local businesses to mess with the target.

•    Call them:

o    Skype – Use skype to call the target. When you first register a skype account you get one free call…

o    IP Relay – Ask the operator not to announce at the start of the call. This is a service only available to people in the USA.

This phase of the attack has only just begun but already the group has been bandying about the internet details on various Sony employees, including the family history and personal details of Robert S. Wiesenthal, Group Executive at Sony Corporation; Nicole Seligman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Sony Corporation of America; and Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corporation of America.

As one can imagine, the gaming community and the internet at large has erupted into debate about the ethical merits and social value of these attacks, with equal measure for and against the Anonymous attacks. Other hacking factions have even gone on record to label certain elements of this movement as “arrogant sociopaths.”

Do you think Anonymous is justified in attacking Sony? << Lend your voice to the discussion on the MyBroadband forum.

Article courtesy of MyGaming – Anonymous hackers begin attacks on Sony

Source: PlayStation Lifestyle

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Anonymous hackers launch attacks against Sony