Sony says 'high traffic' downs PlayStation, Entertainment networks

The group claiming responsibility also appears to be involved in a bomb threat against an American Airlines flight

Sony said Sunday that 'high traffic' downed its PlayStation and Entertainment networks, with the group claiming responsibility also apparently involved in a security threat concerning a flight carrying a Sony executive.

The group, which calls itself the "Lizard Squad," wrote on Twitter that "today we planted the ISIS flag on @Sony's servers," referring to the militant group that occupies parts of Iraq and Syria.

Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley wrote on Twitter that Sony was hit with a large-scale distributed denial-of-service attack. The attack struck upstream traffic routes over which Sony has no control, which affected players' ability to log in, he wrote.

DDoS attacks involve sending overwhelming amounts of data to a service provider in an attempt to crash the network.

Sony issued a statement Sunday, writing that while the high traffic impacted its network, "no personal information has been accessed." No more technical detail was provided.

"We will continue to work towards fixing this issue and hope to have our services up and running as soon as possible," wrote Sony spokesman Sid Shuman. "We regret any inconvenience this may have caused."

Earlier in the day, the Lizard Squad tweeted directly to American Airlines, writing that it had "received reports" that a flight carrying Smedley "has explosives on board." Smedley had earlier tweeted that his flight had been diverted, writing that the matter concerned "something about security and our cargo."

It appears from the timeline of tweets that the Lizard Squad -- eager to aggravate Sony -- upped the stakes after seeing Smedley complain of a delay.

American Airlines Flight 362, which left from Dallas-Fort Worth for San Diego, was diverted to Phoenix due to "a security-related issue," wrote Michelle Mohr, director of corporate communications, in a statement. The Boeing 757, with 179 passengers and six crew, landed safely, she said.

The Lizard Squad had also tweeted directly to Smedley with a YouTube video showing one of the burning World Trade Center towers hit by a plane in the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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