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During the start of the weekend, Sony experienced a major outage on the PlayStation Network that affected both the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4. Users of both systems reported that the services were not working as intended.
Game Informer did a brief write-up about the outage, which was confirmed by Sony over on the PSN Status site. At the time of the original report, Sony had mentioned to PSN users that...
You may be experiencing issues related to launching certain games or game functionality, this is due to factors external to PSN. We are tracking the progress of the resolution of the issue.
This is nothing new. Sony has been battling with “external” forces and factors for quite some time. Some of the worst of times were back during the middle of last year from August onward.
Sony was repeatedly targeted by a small group of online troublemakers. They were known by most folk as “script kiddies” and were continuously DDoS'ing PSN to keep it offline. Their antics later evolved into something a bit more heinous when they began sending bomb threats to the current president of Daybreak Game Company, John Smedley.
They began to escalate their efforts even further by attacking Xbox Live in conjunction with knocking PSN offline. Things came to a head when the hackers took both PSN and Xbox Live offline during the Christmas holiday break.
The outages caused gamers to become infuriated with the hackers, and Sony had then admitted that they receive those kind of attacks on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, it's taken a lot of time and effort and money for the major software companies and hardware manufacturers to finally establish the infrastructure to defend themselves against DDoS attacks.
Things took a drastic turn shortly thereafter when rival hacker group Anonymous vowed to expose and help the authorities bring the individuals responsible for the DDoS attacks to justice. It wasn't long after that arrests were made on a few occasions where allegedly the culprits behind the attacks were captured.
It later turned out that the group responsible for bringing down services like PSN and Xbox Live were actually being paid a lump sum of money to do so for a period of time. They also attacked other sites during that period such as The Escapist for having a forum that housed discussion regarding exposing the unethical behavior of media journalists, which was confirmed by the co-founder of The Escapist and general manager of Defy Media, Alexander Macris.
At this point, most gamers don't seem too fazed when they learn that PSN or Xbox Live is down due to “external forces”. However, Sony and Microsoft have both amped up their efforts to restore services as quickly as possible. And in this case, PSN wasn't down for too long but they still have to deal with these issues regardless.
On the upside at least gamers intent on playing new PS4 releases like Planetside 2 will be able to do so this weekend without having to worry about the outage.