Source: See below.
What we heard: Internet hacktivism has in large part been led in recent years by the loose collective known as Anonymous. The group has taken up the causes of a variety of free speech and Internet freedom advocates, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and US military whistle-blower Bradley Manning, using means that include distributed denial of service attacks to take retribution on perceived oppressors.
Now, it appears as if the plight of PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George Hotz (aka GeoHot) is the latest cause to have been taken up by Anonymous. In a post to its message board, the loose-knit organization appears to have declared war on Sony over legal action it has taken against Hotz as well as members of the fail0verflow hacking collective, including PS3 hacker Graf_Chokolo.
"Congratulations! You are now receiving the attention of Anonymous," the declaration reads. "Your recent legal actions against fellow internet citizens, GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo have been deemed an unforgivable offense against free speech and internet freedom, primary sources of free lulz (and you know how we feel about lulz.)"
"You have abused the judicial system in an attempt to censor information about how your products work," the message continued. "You have victimized your own customers merely for possessing and sharing information, and continue to target those who seek this information. In doing so you have violated the privacy of thousands of innocent people who only sought the free distribution of information.
"Your suppression of this information is motivated by corporate greed and the desire for complete control over the actions of individuals who purchase and use your products, at least when those actions threaten to undermine the corrupt stranglehold you seek to maintain over copywrong, oops, 'copyright.'"
The manifesto of sorts concludes by saying that the group will attack Sony's private domains. And, perhaps coincidentally enough, Sony appears to be suffering some stability issues today through the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network.
GameSpot has found that the PSN is experiencing intermittent service and general lag while performing a variety of activities, including browsing and downloading through the PlayStation Store, receiving updates, and using the console's Internet browser. GameSpot has also encountered a variety of error messages, including, "An error has occurred during the installation operation (80710B23)."
Beyond the possible DDoS attack, Anonymous is attempting to organize a sit-in of sorts at SonyStyle stores. According to the group's Facebook page, the public action is being planned for April 16-17.
The official story: It is unclear whether the PSN's intermittent connectivity is a result of an Internet attack or general maintenance. In a post to its Twitter feed, the PS3 maker said, "PSN currently undergoing sporadic maintenance. Access to the PSN may be interrupted throughout the day. We apologize for any inconvenience."
Further, the publisher does not appear to be experiencing any issues with PlayStation.com or the PlayStation Blog. Sony had not responded to a request for comment on the alleged Anonymous attack as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: As yet unclear. Sony is clearly suffering a bout of instability on the PSN side, but it remains to be seen whether this is due to a DDoS attack or to routine maintenance.