Sony fears Anonymous hack as PSN stays down

It's looking more likely that loose-knit 'hacktivist' collective Anonymous may have pulled off the "biggest ever" attack on Sony's PlayStation network (PSN), as company engineers are investigating the possibility that the online gaming service has been hacked.

James Gallagher, blog manager for Sony computer Entertainment Europe, posted the following update on the Sony PlayStation blog, as Sony engineers struggle to end the emergency outage, which this morning was being blamed on "maintenance":

As you are no doubt aware, the current emergency outage is continuing this afternoon and all Sony Online Network services remain unavailable. Our support teams are investigating the cause of the problem, including the possibility of targeted behaviour by an outside party. If the reported Network problems are indeed caused by such acts, we would like to once again thank our customers who have borne the brunt of the attack through interrupted service.

Our engineers are continuing to work to restore and maintain the services, and we appreciate our customers' continued support.

Anonymous is keeping resolutely tight-lipped about the matter. The status message on its OpSony IRC channel reading 'NO, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO PSN'. One user responded to a questioner asking what had happened by snapping: "Ask Sony".

Frustrated gamers are advised to check for updates on the engineers' progress at the PlayStation website and follow the official @PlayStationEU twitter feed. Or go out and enjoy the sunshine instead.