Sony is set to come under attack next weekend, with activist group Anonymous urging consumers to boycott Sony Central stores in Australia on April 16th in retaliation against the Japanese company’s ongoing lawsuits against PlayStation 3 modifiers.Anonymous is a coalition of hackers operating under the name “Operation Payback.”
It has taken on such targets as Broadcast Music International, former HBGary CEO Aaron Barr, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, the Recording Industry Association of America, the U.S. Copyright Office, and the Motion Picture Association of America.
The group, who has bought down the web sites of some of the world’s largest financial organisations, in support of WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange, believe that they have the support of consumers in mounting their campaign against Sony in Australia, the USA and the UK and Europe.
Late last week the group switched from attacking Sony web sites to urging consumers to stop buying Sony products after claims that their attacks on the Playstation Network were hurting gamers.
The group has already produced a video calling for action as well as set up a Facebook page.
The public Facebook event has more than 1,100 RSVPs at the time of this writing.
Last Monday, Anonymous launched a denial of service attack on Sony, rendering the PlayStation Network (PSN) inaccessible for nearly 24 hours.
The group is also targeting senior Sony management in various countries including Australia. Among those targeted is Michael Ephraim, the Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment.
In a statement issued by Anonymous who claim to have several members in Australia, the group said ‘During the last few days, Anonymous has been targeting Sony for their outrageous treatment of not only PS3 users and jail breakers, but also of the general public”.
“Their propaganda regarding jail breaking implies that it encourages piracy and thereby makes people lose their jobs, whereas jail breaking actually just means you are making YOUR device do what it should do. Imagine if Microsoft forced you to use Internet Explorer instead of Firefox or Chrome. Imagine if they denied users from using any other web browser than their own. Many people would obviously be pissed… but then, why aren’t you pissed at Sony?’
In January, Sony sued 23-year-old George ‘Geohot’ Hotz for exposing the root key to a PS3, allowing users to develop and play their own games. His case has been well-documented via anti-Sony rap videos posted on YouTube.
Sony recently received permission to subpoena PayPal for Hotz’ records, they also accused him of fleeing the country to South America, a move that Hotz denied claiming that he was “On vacation”.
In February, German police raided the home of a person known as Egorenkov, who is best known for reverse-engineering the PS3 and researching security loopholes in the console. Sony later sued Egorenkov for one million euros ($1.4 million) for publishing the findings of his research, known as the “Hypervisor Bible,” online.