Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Coal, Day 3: PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Still Down – Update

4TH UPDATE, FRIDAY, 8 AM: After another short overnight respite, Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live online network again continue to be disrupted by what appear to be distributed denial-of-service attacks.
4TH UPDATE, FRIDAY, 8 AM: After another short overnight respite, Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox...

Sony hasn’t responded with anything new on Twitter through its main customer support feed, responding to most inquiries with either “We are aware that some users are unable to access at the moment. Our technicians are working to fix this issue,” or “There is no time frame at the moment, stay tune for updates.”

Microsoft’s Xbox Live, though not showing nearly as many complaints on system-monitoring site, is also showing problems again after another short overnight break. We’ll continue to monitor as this plays out in Day 3 after the attacks, claimed by anonymous hacker group Lizard Squad, began late afternoon on Christmas Eve.

3rd UPDATE, THURSDAY, 6:20 PM: Sony just posted on one of its main Twitter feeds, acknowledging that the PlayStation Network continues to be offline and that it has “no ETA” for when the service will return to operation. Meanwhile, attacks appear to have renewed in the past two hours on Microsoft’s competing Xbox Live network.

UPDATE: Five hours later, there has been little progress on the PSN front. “Our engineers are continuing to work hard to resolve the network issues users have experienced today,” AskPlayStation tweeted at 11:30 PM. “Thanks for your continued patience!”
4TH UPDATE, FRIDAY, 8 AM: After another short overnight respite, Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox....

The Internet-monitoring site shows that there was a brief respite from the worst of the attack earlier this afternoon. The attacks started last night for several hours, eased off overnight and picked up again this morning. It appears to have picked back up again, and we’re seeing lots of complaints.

It’s likely another distributed denial-of-service attack (using a botnet to flood a site with tens of thousands of access requests, overwhelming servers), not the sort of hyper-sophisticated and in-depth attack that crippled Sony Pictures Entertainment last month. But Sony isn’t saying much as they deal with this, and gamers are getting frustrated.

There are also some Twitter posts by Lizard Squad, the anonymous hacker group that attacked Sony, offering Microsoft gift cards and selling Social Security numbers for two specific people for $500. The Microsoft competing online network Xbox Live was also down last night and has had some elevated levels of problems, but largely hasn’t been as crippled as PSN, at least until about two hours ago. According to DownDetector, complaints of service problems skyrocketed beginning around 4 PM ET and continue

controversial film believed at the heart of the original Sony hacking attack and possibly connected to the Lizard Squad attacks as well – another Sony outlet, the stand-alone website, has managed to survive any attacks and is still making the film available to fans who want to watch it at home. That’s no consolation for gamers on PSN and Xbox Live who clearly, based on our voluminous comments, feel like collateral damage in this latest round of Christmastime assaults.

We’ll monitor as this goes on.

2ND UPDATE, THURSDAY, 5:20 PM: No official update from Sony’s PlayStation yet but things appear to be getting a little better as a number of PSN users tell Deadline that they have been able to get back online. The number of PSN problems detected by dropped fivefold in the past hour, from over 5,000 to around 1,000. We will continue to monitor the situation.

UPDATE, THURSDAY, 9:18 AM: After recovering from a roughly six-hour outage last night, Sony’s PlayStation Network is back down again this morning, it appears. And the hacker collective claiming credit for the outage said it also has taken down rival Xbox Live network as well, though that couldn’t be verified.

Complaints logged at one system-monitoring company,, show another big spike of problems on PSN, the online network, this morning. Attempts to access the network and the PlayStation Store directly also failed. (This is a graphic from

Sony’s PlayStation Twitter feed posted at 6:51 AM PT that, “We’re aware that some users are having issues logging into PSN – engineers are investigating.”

Xbox Live, the online network for video game archrival Microsoft, was spawning far fewer reports on DownDetector this morning after its own outage last night, but Lizard Squad, the anonymous hacker or group of hackers that claimed responsibility for the outages in posts on Twitter, said it had pulled down the Xbox network as well. DownDetector said problems spiked again this morning beginning at 7:47 AM PT.

The Xbox support Twitter feed was responding busily to lots of support issues but did not reflect an outage there.

PREVIOUSLY, WEDNESDAY, 7:46 PM: The PlayStation Network was down beginning in late afternoon, as attempts to access the site returned error messages that the network was down. A check of Internet monitoring sites showed thousands of complaints.

The hackers who attacked PlayStation parent Sony Pictures Entertainment last month had promised a “Christmas gift” if the company proceeded with the release of movie The Interview, which has been made available online ahead of a limited theatrical release, which starts tomorrow. PSN’s latest troubles might be related to the SPE hack. Business Insider was reporting that Microsoft’ Xbox Live network, which is selling/renting The Interview on demand, also was down. An anonymous hacker group called Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the outages in posts on Twitter. Lizard Squad also claimed credit for distributed denial-of-service attacks on the PlayStation Network in August and again earlier this month.