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PlayStation Network knocked off-line by hackers

PlayStation Network taken down by hacking attack
PlayStation Network taken down by hacking attack

Sony's PlayStation Network is currently suffering a mass outage for North American users due to a coordinated denial-of-service attack, a type of electronic assault that seeks to overwhelm a network with artificially high traffic. The PSN was knocked off-line by hackers earlier today, and the disruption of service is still going on nearly 10 hours after it began.

Strangely, the attack came with an additional security threat that has grounded the aircraft being used by Sony executive John Smedley. TechCrunch reports that Smedley's plane has been diverted to Phoenix and is being inspected after a group, calling itself the Lizard Squad, threatened that explosives had been placed on the flight.

Sony Online Entertainment has apologized for the current outage, stressing that no personal information of any customers had been breached.

"Although this has impacted your ability to access our network and enjoy our services, no personal information has been accessed. We will continue to work towards fixing this issue and hope to have our services up and running as soon as possible," said a message posted by Sid Shuman, PlayStation's senior social media manager. "We regret any inconvenience this may have caused."

The PlayStation Network facilitates multi-player gaming on the company's flagship console. It was previously the target of a cyber-security breach in 2011, when hackers accessed the personal details of approximately 77 million users. The PSN was knocked off-line for over a week. The event was a huge black-eye for Sony, resulting in a class-action lawsuit. The company pledged tighter security controls.