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Sony may have headed off planned weekend attack

It appears the plan to hack into a Sony Web site and publish information from it online was thwarted when Sony found out about it ahead of time.

A group of hackers that planned an attack against Sony's servers this weekend was unable to execute its plan.

CNET has learned that our publication of the group's plan may have caused Sony to secure the remaining servers this group claims it had access to, shutting off any avenues for another attack.

Wrote one of the members in the Internet Relay Chat channel the group uses, "Apparently Sony saw that article because the last server that I could access is offline now...its probbaly (sic) being patched like the other servers. There goes our window."

On Thursday we reported that a group of hackers believed to be involved in the intrusion on PlayStation Network was planning yet another attack on Sony, this time on an unspecified company Web site, with the goal of posting any information they could find somewhere online. The hackers said at the time that they were planning another wave of cyberattacks against Sony in retaliation for its handling of the PlayStation Network breach. An observer of the Internet Relay Chat channel used by the hackers told CNET about the hackers' plans.

In what may be connected, Sony said Saturday that on Thursday it had removed the names of 2,500 entrants to a 2001 Sony contest with partial addresses that had been copied from an old part of the company's Web site and posted online.

No one has publicly taken credit for the attacks, but the hacker group Anonymous, who has been linked with the attack by Sony and others, has denied involvementin recent events.

In addition, the company said Saturday that the PlayStation network was still not ready to bring back online, following a massive security breach of three weeks prior. A company spokesman said the company was still trying to grasp the size of the subsequent Sony Online Entertainment gaming network breach, which is delaying the rebuild of PSN.

Sony has shut down PSN, Qriocity, and Sony Online while it does a total rebuild of the security systems. Overall, the personal information of more than 100 million Sony customers has been exposed in the breach. Sony has promised to compensate customers with free ID theft monitoring, as well as free content and 30 days of free access to the premium version of PSN.