Sony executive’s flight cut short by Twitter threat; network attacked

Sony Corp. signage is displayed atop the company’s headquarters in Tokyo. The company Sunday was the target of both a cyber attack and a bomb threat against a flight carrying one of its executives.
(Akio Kon / Bloomberg)

There was no rest for Sony Sunday as the Japanese company dealt with a bomb threat on a flight carrying one of its top executives and with a cyber attack that knocked its PlayStation Network offline for several hours.

Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley was aboard an American Airlines flight from Dallas to San Diego when a threatening tweet was posted by an account called Lizard Squad that claimed explosives had been planted on the plane.

”.@AmericanAir We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley’s plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this,” the tweet said.

The plane was diverted to Phoenix. The FBI investigated but found no explosives. The flight proceeded to its final destination with Smedley tweeting “All is well” and later, “Yes. My plane was diverted. Not going to discuss more than that. Justice will find these guys.”


Before Smedley’s flight, the executive had been tweeting about a distributed denial of service attack -- where hackers hit a service with more Internet traffic than it can handle -- that brought down the PlayStation Network, on which gamers play with and against one another.

Sony said Monday the network was back online and apologized. According to the company, hackers did not break into the network and no data were stolen. In a 2011 attack on the Sony network, hackers exposed the information of about 77 million users. 

Twitter: @sal19

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