If these latest rumors have merit, then it really couldn't get any worse for Sony.
CNET is exclusively reporting that an undisclosed group of hackers are planning another attack on the PSN as early as this weekend. From CNET:
An observer of the Internet Relay Chat channel used by the hackers told CNET today that a third major attack is planned this weekend against Sony's Web site. The people involved plan to publicize all or some of the information they are able to copy from Sony's servers, which could include customer names, credit card numbers, and addresses, according to the source. The hackers claim they currently have access to some of Sony's servers.
Now, this would only be the second separate breach of Sony's servers since the PSN most recently went down on or around April 19th. Earlier this week, Sony reported that along with information from PSN and Qriociry, hackers had stolen info from its PC gaming division, Sony Online Entertainment.
According to Sony, this was not a separate attack but stemmed from the original event that forced the shut down of the PSN - though it is entirely possible that Sony just said that to avoid more backlash about the security of their network. Taking them at their word, this second breach could be devastating to Sony and their customers.
Several weeks ago, activist group Anonymous famously took down several Sony sites as retribution for what they saw as unfair litigation against hacker George "geohot" Hotz. Although Sony implicated Anonymous in the more recent attacks that forced the PSN shutdown, Anonymous has denied all involvement.
On Wednesday, they issued a press release which detailed their defense against the accusations. They said that the "We are Legion" file Sony apparently found on its servers must have been a plant, put there to unjustly implicate Anonymous. They said that it is against Anonymous' goals to mess with credit card numbers:
In the realm of criminal investigation, there is an important aspect of investigations that should never be overlooked. The "modus operandi" of a criminal rarely changes. Whoever did perform the credit card theft did so contrary to the "modus operandi" and intention of Anonymous. Public support is not gained by stealing credit card info and personal identities, we are trying to fight criminal activities by corporations and governments, not steal credit cards.
Whoever perpetrated the attacks look like they might be gearing up for round two, however. This rumor emerges just as the PSN is planning on getting up and running again. In a PlayStation blog post, Sony says that service will be restored in the "coming days."
The newest blog post also gets more specific about the "Welcome Back" package that Sony is preparing as an apology gift to its millions of users. The package will contain, among other things, WoW Gold Guide, and free month of PSN Plus and some sort of free game.
Sony's handling of the situation has been an ongoing thread of anger from customers, many feeling like Sony should have been quicker and more forthcoming with all the information they had. This post addresses that issue:
I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.
If the new rumors prove to be true, it is surely questionable at best whether Sony can survive another prolonged outage and breach of information. PS3 owners are already well, frustrated, to say the least. Hopefully for PS3 gamers, these rumors prove to be untrue and they can get back to gaming in the next few days.