Hackers may be plotting weekend attack against Sony

As Sony is in the final stages of getting the PlayStation Network back online, a new threat may be emerging. People with knowledge of the IRC chat room where hackers have been congregating to discuss the attacks are discussing a new effort, CNET reported late Thursday.

This news comes amid word from Sony that it had entered "the final stages of internal testing of the new system," likely indicating PSN would be back up in a matter of days. The issue also has prompted a letter from Sony chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer, who reiterated that the company was working "around the clock" on the issue.

Regardless of the company's work, if CNET's sources are correct efforts to return the network to normal operations could be severely hampered. The chatters apparently claim they have access to Sony's servers, meaning engineers working on the issue may not have the hole completely closed.

More worrisome is what the hackers are threatening to do with this break in: they plan to publicly release some or all of the data they steal which includes personal data and credit card information. If that occurs, the potential for fraud would increase dramatically since the data would be more easily obtained.

Anonymous again denied any culpability in the breach yesterday after Sony pointed the blame back at them in a response to congressional inquiry. If the weekend hack does happen -- Anonymous may find itself answering new questions about its involvement.

It is unknown what group (if any) the hackers in the IRC chat are associated with. But the threat could potentially be a devastating blow to Sony's efforts to manage the situation -- which Sony has repeatedly stressed that it has under control.

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