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[BOSTON] Sony Corp worked for a third day to restore services to its PlayStation online gaming network after a Christmas Day cyberattack shuttered access to some customers, including holiday recipients of new game consoles. "If you received a PlayStation console over the holidays and have been unable to log onto the network, know that this problem is temporary and is not caused by your game console," Sony executive Catherine Jensen said in a posting on the company's US PlayStation blog.
She said the problems were the result of "high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online game play,"a technique widely known as a distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS.
It was Sony's second recent high-profile encounter with hackers after an unprecedented attack on its Hollywood studio, which Washington has attributed to the North Korean government and linked to the release of the low-brow comedy "The Interview." Sony spokesman Jennifer Clark declined to say how many of PSN's 56 millions users could not gain access to the network.
Customer response was mixed to requests from Sony's Twitter support account to be patient.
One person tweeted: "You keep repeating this same line like a parrot. WHAT exactly is the team doing?" "That's OK. We know you're trying your best," another said via Twitter. "We all hate the hackers that did this." A hacker activist group known as Lizard Squad said it was responsible for the PSN outage as well as delays on Microsoft's Corp's Xbox network; Microsoft quickly fixed the problem.
Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of security software maker F-Secure, said he knows of no reasonable motive for attacking Sony or Microsoft. "The attackers have no motive whatsoever for their DDoS attacks against Sony or Microsoft," he said.
The group has claimed responsibility for previous cyber attacks, including ones on PSN in early December and August.
The attack in August coincided with a bomb scare on a commercial jet in which Lizard Squad tweeted to American Airlines that it heard explosives were on board a Dallas-to-San Diego flight carrying an executive with Sony Online Entertainment.
Sony has been the victim of some of the most notorious cyberattacks in history. Besides the breach at its Hollywood studio, hackers stole data belonging to 77 million PlayStation Network users in 2011.