In a recorded message directed atNetwork users outraged by the cyberattack that has kept it offline for three weeks, the hacker group Anonymous again denied orchestrating the attack.
The audio statement was posted online today at Anonops.blogspot.com, and for the first time allows for the possibility that individual Anonymous participants may have acted apart from the group as a whole.
"While it could be the case that other Anons have acted by themselves, AnonOps was not related to this incident and does not take responsibility for whatever has happened," the message says.
While Anonymous previously organized a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against some Sony Web sites last month, the group has repeatedly said it was not involved with the PSN and Sony Online Entertainment hacks that made off with 100 million customer names, addresses, emails, and birth dates on April 17 through April 19. At least 10 million credit cards may have also been exposed.
The group has been associated with the latest attack because Sony says it found a file planted on its Sony Online servers titled "Anonymous," containing a fragment of the group's tagline, "We are Legion."
But the group said it "does not condone credit card theft."
"A more likely explanation is that Sony is taking advantage of Anonymous' previous ill will towards the company to distract users from the fact that the outage is actually an internal problem with the company's servers," the message continued. That's likely a reference to the allegation that Sony's server security was badly out of date.
But the statement doesn't address what Sony has been insinuating: that Anonymous' previous DDoS attacks helped whoever is responsible for the PSN and Sony Online hacks by letting them slip undetected through the back door.
"Almost two weeks ago, one or more cybercriminals gained access to PlayStation Network servers at or around the same time that these servers were experiencing denial-of-service attacks," Sony Computer Entertainment Chairman Kazuo Hirai said last week. "The Sony Network Entertainment America team did not immediately detect the criminal intrusion for several possible reasons. That may have made it more difficult to detect this intrusion quickly--all perhaps by design."
In response to a query from a Congressional subcommittee last week, Sony said it still did not know the identities of who orchestrated the attacks.
PSN has remained offline since April 20 while Sony rebuilds the security. Today the company said service would be restored in "a few more days."