It looks increasingly likely that some hackers connected with the band of mischief makers known as Anonymous were behind the hack the brought Sony's Playstation Network to its knees and exposed the details of millions of gamers.
The Financial Times reports getting word from two "veterans of Anonymous" who point the finger of probability at one or more Anonymites for whom the attraction of making a bent bunk proved too tempting.
There is little doubt that Anonymous was targeting Sony's servers, largely as a result of the corporation's own actions against the homebrew community and hacker Geohot in particular, whom Sony hauled through the courts for having the audacity to publicise the private key that rendered the Playstation console open to modification for those with a mind to do such a thing. Anonymous launched what it called OpSony some time before the hack of Sony's servers was conducted.
In a letter to the US Congress to answer questions posed of it about the hack, Sony claimed that it had found a file entitled “Anonymous” on its servers, backed up with the group's slogan “we are legion”.
According to one of the FT's sources, details of the vulnerability in Sony's network were being bandied about on Anonymous' IRC discussions prior to the attack. This claim is backed up by various posts on the web purporting to be of Anonymous discussing their penetration of Sony's servers. One such chat log dating back to February is here.
If we allow ourselves to speculate for a bit, it seems likely that Anonymous was targeting Sony for a bit of its usual mischief making, which usually involves a DDoS attack on the servers of an organisation that has annoyed its collective hive mind for some reason or other: like those financial institutions that backed out of processing payments intended for WikiLeaks. Anonymous likes to parade under the banner of protecting free speech and defending the individual from corporate might.
However, what Anonymous discovered chez Sony were vulnerabilities so enticing that some of its number proved unable to resist the temptation to plunder the network of all the potentially - and criminally - lucrative data they could lay their hands on.
“The hacker that did this was supporting OpSony’s movements,” the FT's Anonymous source said.
Another, whom the FT called Kayla said: “If you say you are Anonymous, and do something as Anonymous, then Anonymous did it.
“Just because the rest of Anonymous might not agree with it, doesn't mean Anonymous didn’t do it.”
Anonymous has 'officially' denied responsibility for the hack. However, being, as it, its a rag-tag collective of headless chickens, it can't be sure whether any of its adherents were actually responsible or not. In fact, a posting on thinq_ that we were not able to verify but which looks to all intents and purposes like an Anonynmous statement did claim to have had a hand in the hack.
The fact is, if you were a criminally minded hacker you might just tag along with Anonymous and follow their actions just to see whether any opportunities just such as this might arise.