April 4, 2011 at 4:55 PM ET
Infamous hacktivist group Anonymous has announced that it will be waging a cyber war on Sony ... and it appears to have already struck the first blow.
Anonymous announced on Sunday that Sony's legal actions against hacker GeoHot and its other corporate behaviors "have been deemed an unforgivable offense against free speech and internet freedom."
And in the following video posted to YouTube Monday, they tell the tech giant: "You will feel the wrath of Anonymous. Your official websites will be taken offline including the PlayStation Store. These attacks will continue until we are completely satisfied with the outcome."
As of this writing, Sony's PlayStation.com and Sony.com websites are showing up either as inaccessible or loading improperly and at a crawl. Meanwhile, reports have been rolling in from various videogame sites that Sony's PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 is experiencing outages and lag.
Anonymous is a loose-knit group that has previously attacked the Westboro Baptist Church, "oppressive" Egyptian websites, and, as Stephen Colbert has hilariously explained, acts as a protector of WikiLeaks.
On Sunday night, Anonymous announced in this missive to Sony:
You have abused the judicial system in an attempt to censor information about how your products work. You have victimized your own customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target those who seek this information. In doing so you have violated the privacy of thousands of innocent people who only sought the free distribution of information.
Anonymous goes on to threaten Sony's private domains as a way of showing the company what it's like to own something ... and yet have no control over it (something the group claims Sony is doing to its own customers).
Indeed, Sony has sued hacker GeoHot (real name George Hotz) for allegedly violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and for allegedly contributing to copyright infringement.
He (with help from hacker group fail0verflow) raised Sony's hackles when he posted the rootkey for the PlayStation 3 online back in January. It's a move that allows people to run their own homebrew software on their PS3 machines ... and allows them to play pirated games as well.
But GeoHot has insisted from the beginning that he's against piracy. He outlines his arguments on his website here, stating that he does not distribute anyone's copyrighted work. Instead, his argument is that consumers should be allowed to tinker with any piece of equipment they purchase in any way that they like.
Anonymous agrees. As of this writing, my visits to Sony.com and PlayStation.com have been met with molasses-like loading times and/or downright zero access.
Of course, according to the official @AskPlayStation Twitter account this isn't because of Anonymous:
"PSN currently undergoing sporadic maintenance. Access to the PSN may be interrupted throughout the day. We apologize for any inconvenience."
I get it. Anonymous is peeved about Sony's treatement of GeoHot and angered by what it sees as bullying corporate tactics. And the debate regarding what we consumers should be able to do with the equipment we've paid good money for is an interesting one with worthy points on both sides.
But my only question here is: Isn't Anonymous also hurting the "innocent people" it vows to protect with today's attacks? I mean, the "innocent people" own PS3s and want access to the PlayStation Network for their gaming needs.
While some of the "innocent people" seem to appreciate Anonymous' efforts on their behalf ... other "innocent people" are pretty peeved at Anonymous for disrupting their gaming service.
As one commenter on an Anonymous-related Facebook page writes: "I give them a BIG F! so their target is basically us the gamers, if they are attacking the PSN and i cant log in or play my games thats not on attack on sony it self its an attack on us gamers because we are the ones that are suffering!"
"Lets punish the players for using a PS3. *sarcasm off,"reads another comment posted to Anonymous' own website.
I guess, as the old saying goes, you can't make an omelet (or, in this case, make war on Sony) without breaking a few eggs.
Sucks to be the eggs tho.
UPDATE: Tuesday, April 5 — Anonymous has stepped up its attacks on Sony, seeking personal information about company executives and their children. Read more here.
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