Sony has become the latest target of Anonymous, the loose-knit 'hacktivist' collective that last year launched 'Operation Payback', a string of attacks on anti-piracy groups including US record industry body the RIAA, and cowboy legal outfit ACS Law.
OpSony, the latest outing for Operation Payback was announced in a statement (opens in new tab) on the site AnonNews.org.
The consumer electronics giant is being targeted for its pursuit of GeoHot, the US hacker who published the private key (opens in new tab) required to develop third-party firmware for Sony's PlayStation 3 games console, without using a hardware dongle.
GeoHot - real name George Hotz - has been forced by a court in the US to hand over computer equipment (opens in new tab) to Sony's lawyers, who also succeeded in securing access to the Hotz's PayPal account in an attempt to prove that the hacker had accepted donations for his work on the PS3 private key hack.
Sony now accuses Hotz of fleeing the US (opens in new tab) to escape prosecution.
Fellow PS3 hacker Graf_Chokolo was arrested by German police in February (opens in new tab) in connection with the case. Equipment seized in a raid at the young German's home was handed over to Sony lawyers looking for evidence against GeoHot.
Alleging that Sony had "victimized" its own customers, Anonymous threatened "disciplinary action" against the company's websites.
Anonymous regulars have previously carried out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against high-profile targets, restricting or disabling the websites of Amazon, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, after the companies withdrew services from whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.