There’s a reason why you had difficulties accessing Sony’s online PlayStation store and Microsoft’s Xbox Live network during Christmas. Each has been experiencing disruptions from a DDoS attack that began on Christmas Eve, continued through Christmas Day, and is still ongoing.
The group that has claimed responsibility for the disruptions is the same one that has a history of destroying other people’s fun by making it impossible for them to access online games. This is especially problematic during Christmas as people who received new games try to get online to play them. Some have noted that Sony’s decision to let people download the controversial movie The Interview through Xbox Video could be adding to the problem.
The PlayStation Knowledge Center has mentioned the issue. At the time I am writing this, the PSN Status is “Offline”. Further information says: “We are aware that some users are experiencing difficulty logging into the PSN. We will update this article with any changes that occur in regards to this issue. Thank you for your patience.”
Similarly, Microsoft has posted some information about the outage on their Xbox Live Support page. At the time I am writing this, the Xbox Live Core Services is “Limited”. Further information says: “Xbox members, are you experiencing issues when attempting to sign in? We’re aware of this issue, and we’re working to find a fix ASAP! We appreciate your patience in the meantime, and we encourage you to retry signing in when you get a chance. We’ll update you as soon as we know more”.
Friday nights are typically a great time to get online and play some video games. Unless, of course, you can’t play due to a DDoS attack destroying your fun. That’s exactly what happened to Blizzard Entertainment’s Battle.net the Friday night after Thanksgiving. Frustratingly, this is not the only DDoS Blizzard has experienced this month.
The Battle.net launcher is what players use to log in to any of Blizzard’s games. Those games include: World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Starcraft II, and Hearthstone. Players who were already logged in and playing noticed some big problems and mentioned their experiences on Twitter.
Many said that the World of Warcraft servers had crashed. Some lamented the loss of their hardcore characters as issues plagued the Diablo III game. If your hardcore character dies, for any reason, it stays dead. That character can’t be “resurrected” and keep going – you have to start all over again.
The @BlizzardCS account on Twitter later confirmed that they were experiencing a DDoS attack.
http://t.co/WvZhATxtUO is being affected by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. We are taking measures to improve stability.
Was your favorite online video game difficult to access over the weekend? There is a reason for that. A group decided to use a DDoS attack against several of the big gaming companies servers. I’ve no idea what the motivation of this group was, and choose not to speculate as to what they may have been thinking. If you were on Twitter this weekend you may have seen a lot of confused and frustrated tweets from gamers who were just trying to have fun playing some online video games.
The group targeted Blizzard Entertainment’s servers. This caused difficulties for those trying to access Battle Net, World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Hearthstone and other Blizzard games. Riot Games’ League of Legends was attacked and so was Grinding Gear Game’s Path of Exile.
Blizzard was keeping people informed about the outage through their @BlizzardCS account on Twitter. They did not directly mention a DDos attack, and instead tweeted things like “We’re investigating issues where players are unable to connect or log into their characters.” Updates about the situation were provided through that Twitter account.
Just to let you know we're aware of the current connection issues and that we're working to resolve them as soon as possible.
Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) was attacked, too. The PlayStation Blog has a post that gives some details.
The original post started with Like other major networks around the world, the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network have been impacted by an attempt to overwhelm our network with artificially high traffic. The blog was later updated to say: The PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network are back online and people can now enjoy the services on their PlayStation devices. The networks were taken offline due to a distributed denial of service attack.
Grinding Gear Games sent out a Tweet on their @PathofExile Twitter account about it.
We're having some server issues due to a DDOS attack. Should have it sorted out soon. Sorry for the inconvenience!
From what I saw via Twitter, it appeared that some of these gaming companies had their servers go down more than once. I am of the impression that stability has been restored to the affected servers now. Hopefully, that is the end of the problem.
The following message showed up on YouTube. I have transcribed:
Attention citizens of the world. We are anonymous. We wish to get your attention hoping you heed the warnings as follows. Your medium of communication that you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing activist, or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information, then join the cause and kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy. Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so they can spy on people from all around the world.
Some of these so-called “White hot infosec” firms are working for a formatarian governments such as those of Egypt and Seria. Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your “Privacy” settings and deleting your account is impossible – even if you delete your account all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time.
Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more private is even a dilusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family. You cannot hide from the reality in which you – the people of the internet – live in facebook – is the opposite of the anti-sec cause.
You’re not safe from them nor any government.
One day you will look back on this and realize what we have done here is right. Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history.
November 5th 2011. We are anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us.
Why Nov 5th, 2011?
This is Guy Fawkes Day, which commemorates when Fawkes and others placed explosives under the British House of Lords in 1605. Fawkes is the mask Anonymous wears. Therefore, they chose this date to bring a social network down.
Joke or Reality?
That is tough to say. Anonymous is an established group, so the attempt can be taken a little more serious. Since we don’t know who makes up this group, it makes this harder to determine. For all we know, several of the members used to work for Facebook. Possibly even a programmer that might have created a secure back door to initiate this attack.
Bottom Line: This Needs to be Stopped!
This is a terrorist action and Anonymous should be treated as such. There is a famous term that most of us take to heart – We shall not succumb to terrorist threat. Violence does not beget violence.
If Facebook is doing what Anonymous says, then they need to be prosecuted in a court of law. No one group gets to decide their fate.
What will be next? Google+? Twitter? Your website?
Zero Tollerance – FBI Needs to Get Involved.
Think about it – You take down a giant in Facebook like that and it has a major economic effect. People build business around Facebook and with the site forcefully taken down like that, people can literally lose millions. Bringing in a new financial crisis to an already unstable economy.
We do not know how this organization will bring Facebook down – and that is the most important part. We assume that it’s going to be something like a DDoS or major virus. What if it’s a physical attack on their server farms or offices?
Remember: Guy Fawkes Organization used explosives to take down the British House of Lords.
This is not the way to do it. With these actions, Anonymous might find that they are protecting the one thing they want to bring down. A threat is a threat, whether a joke or not.
Facebook has many protocols in place to prevent such an attack. I would suggest, however, that Facebook change some policy and review their systems just to make sure there is no back door. Then make sure they have security in place on November 5th.
This is never something you should joke about. I hope they take Anonymous down. Period.
A winner is announced in the show today congrats to Anthony Y for winning and Apple TV. Big thank you to the 32 people that participated in this round of contributions and the 14 new insiders that are now supporting the show. We will giveaway another cool product in the next couple of weeks. As an insider you are automatically entered in all of our contest here at GNC. I am very excited about our PowerPress update coming tomorrow and you get an inside look at what is coming plus a whole bunch of Tech news!
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Fresh back from the Windy City! The snow and cold weather was ok for a couple of days, but I prefer 80 and cool trade winds. Lots of great tech to cover tonight.. I have some great opportunity to someone that would like to underwrite the show for a couple of episodes, drop me a line if your interested. I should be in Hawaii over the next couple of weeks so it will be great to get back into a regular rhythm for the show production.
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Wikileaks announced via Twitter that it is under a massive denial of service attack. The attack coincides with the planned publication of 250,000 documents later today. The documents are apparently confidential diplomatic cables.
As it turns out, there may not be much of interest in this release. Leaked copies of the German publication Der Spiegel appeared early on newsstands and according to German Twitter posts there’s nothing earth-shattering, at least from their point of view, in the documents.
The planned release is supposedly scheduled for 4:30 EST today in conjunction with the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel. Some copies of Der Spiegel, though, apparently appeared on newsstands this morning.
According to CNN the “United States warned WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange that publishing the papers would be illegal and endanger peoples’ lives.” It was shortly after this news that Wikileaks came under attack, and the online rumors began almost immediately. It’s not exactly a stretch to think the US government may have something to do with it. There’s certainly no shortage of blame against them floating around. As one Twitter user put it:
Perhaps we will never know who is behind the attack. Perhaps we’ll find out who’s behind it through a Wikileaks leak, which would be irony at its best. I would think, though, that if the US government were found to be behind a DDOS attack against a website, especially Wikileaks, it would cause a backlash on a massive scale.
You have to watch to win! Video link is in the show notes. One more show here in Honolulu before I take the show on the road. It will be a very busy May and June as farmers say you have to make hay while sun shines. No locked in travel plans yet for listener meet-ups but will advise when I can. Tonight’s show has some incredible stories that will cause your eyebrows to raise.
Watch out for a special present included with your e-mail Christmas greetings. A mass-mailing worm, W32/Zafi.d@MM or Zafi.d, is making the rounds of e-mail users and is transmitted in the form of a Christmas greeting card with the subject line of either “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” The e-mail message will appear to come from one of your acquaintances.