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Sony's websites may be next target for hackers, report says

May 6, 2011 | 11:21 am

Sonydotcom

Sony's websites may be the next target for hackers in what would be a third cyber attack against the consumer electronics titan, according to a report from CNet.

An unidentified group of hackers said it was planning to attack Sony's websites this weekend in response to the anger over the way the Tokyo-based company has handled attacks against its PlayStation Network and cloud-based music service Qriocity, CNet said.

The hackers allegedly discussed the planned attack on an Internet Relay Chat channel, which is a private instant messaging system used to communicate in real-time, in text, across the Web, the report said.

"An observer of the Internet Relay Chat channel used by the hackers told CNET Friday that a third major attack is planned this weekend against Sony's Web site," CNet said, not naming who the observer was.

If the planned hack succeeds, those involved said they want to publicize some or all of the data they can siphon from Sony's servers, the report said. The attacks on Sony's servers so far have exposed personal information such as names, birth dates, addresses, email addresses and even credit card information.

The hackers communicating on the Relay Chat said they already have access to some of Sony's servers, CNet said.

The move to take down Sony's websites would be one made out of retaliation due to frustration with the way Sony has handled two previous attacks on its online services so far, the report said.

The first attack came in April, against servers for the PlayStation Network and Qriocity music service. Sony shut down the two online services on April 20 after discovering it had been hacked on April 19. Neither service has returned to public operation as of yet.

A second cyber-attack against Sony took place on Monday. For the follow-up attack, the target was Sony Online Entertainment's servers. That hack forced the company to shut down that division of its business, which builds and supports online multiplayer computer games such as EverQuest and the Matrix Online.

The weekend attack on Sony's websites would be the third attack against the company in recent weeks. It is unclear as to whether or not the first two, and possibly third, attacks have been performed by the same group.

Sony has lobbed some of the blame for its problems at the "hacktivist" group Anonomyous, but the group has denied any responsibility for the attacks.

The troubles for Sony's online services has led to frustration from Congress and the U.S. attorney general's office, both of which are looking for more information from Sony about how the incidents took place and what the company is doing to protect consumers.

Sony apologized for the massive security breaches; Sony CEO Howard Stringer apologized in a letter to PlayStation users while also announcing a $1-million identity theft insurance policy for affected U.S. users.

RELATED:

Sony CEO apologizes for PSN hacks, offers ID-theft insurance

Sony partially blames hacktivist group Anonymous for data breach

Sony says hacker may have stolen information from more than 90 million user accounts

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screenshot of Sony.com, which could be the next target for hackers attacking Sony. Credit: Sony

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