Hackers Use Twitter Bomb Scare to Divert Sony Exec's Plane
An American Airlines flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley was diverted on Sunday after a hacker group dubbed the Lizard Squad used Twitter to call in a bomb scare. Earlier in the day, the group claimed responsibility for a denial-of-service attack that knocked out Sony's PlayStation Network.
The bomb threat began with a tweet directed to American Airlines from Lizard Squad that specified the flight number and its destination.
Unaware of what Lizard Squad was doing, Smedley continued to tweet about his flight issues to his 40k-plus followers. "Awesome. Flight diverted to Phoenix for security reasons," he said. "I hate American Airlines… Something about security and our cargo. Sitting on Tarmac."
During this time, the hackers began mocking Smedley. "Hey haven't heard from you in an hour, is everything alright?" they snarked. The group also tried to get the hashtag #PrayForFlight362 to trend, and they appear to be linking themselves with both Anonymous and ISIS, the Islamic group responsible for the beheading of journalist James Foley.
Smedley later acknowledged the diversion and said he would not discuss further. "Justice will find these guys," he said. American Airlines said on Twitter that it was aware of the threat and the FBI confirmed with Reuters that it was investigating.
The feds are also looking into the disruption in service to Sony's gaming system, which occurred just hours before.
"We're attempting to slam Sony back into the ground," the Lizard group said early Sunday. The DoS attacked worked and overwhelmed the system with traffic, causing a brief outage, however, Sony said that no personal data had been stolen from users.
Sony released the following statement: "The PSN and Sony Entertainment Network are back online and people can now enjoy the services on their PlayStation devices. The networks were taken offline due to a distributed denial of service attack. We have seen no evidence of any intrusion to the network and no evidence of any unauthorized access to users' personal information… We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused by this issue."
A 2011 attack on the PSN Sony Entertainment Network caused a breach of personal data for around 77 million users.