Anonymous threatens Sony, spares customers

The loosely organized hacker group known as Anonymous has Sony in its sights once again. After releasing a video a few days ago wherein they threaten to destroy Sony’s network, the group, which has been organizing in the IRC channel #OpSony, has clarified the meaning of their declaration. Unlike the infamous PlayStation Network hack of 2011, the target of this attack is not Sony’s customers or even the Playstation Network itself, but Sony’s executives.

As a direct response to Sony’s alignment with recent SOPA legislation, Anonymous intends to “dox” (find and expose personal information) about the company’s executives. The group has already begun to publicize some private information (including credit card numbers) and plans to continue releasing more and more information in as public a way as possible in the near future.

In addition to doxing, Anonymous has announced plans to attack and deface Sony’s websites with Internet memes altered to have an anti-SOPA message. The possibility of posting links to Sony’s copyrighted material, right on their own websites, has also been suggested.
But will Anonymous keep their promise to spare Sony customers? Despite changing their IRC channel’s welcome message multiple times, eventually reading “NO SOPA! NO ATTACK ON PSN,” there is always the possibility that someone in the group will break ranks and target PlayStation Network users. We joined the channel briefly and witnessed debate among Anonymous users as to whether ignoring PSN entirely might dilute their message. Some users supported a no-holds-barred attack, with comments such as:
“If you want to get your message across, PSN is a great way to get ppls attention”
“Just taking down the DB for some time would make Sony worried about all the CC numbers even if we don’t copy the numbers. Parents would get really frightened at PSN’s safety and players wouldn’t get any new PSN games. Database would be backup restored, everything is somewhat back to normal and attention will be added.”
“Please consider a possibility that the PSN could be deleted for a short time. Sony declares the database to be leaked. Parents all over the world panic and never dare enter credentials into PSN again. Sony loses money.”
The emphasis this time around seems to be on attacking Sony Corporation as an entity rather than any particular service, so it’s hard to predict what Anonymous will decide is the best course of action to disrupt the multinational conglomerate. But unless Sony joins GoDaddy and countless other companies in opposing SOPA, there’s no doubt that Anonymous will continue to disrupt and destroy the flow of online commerce in order to make their point.

And hey, if this strategy doesn’t end up panning out for the hacker group, there’s always satellites, right? 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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