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American Airlines flight diverted after hackers make bomb threat

Hacker Lizard Group appeared to take credit for a denial of service attack that brought down Sony's game network, then tweeting of a bomb aboard a Sony executive's flight.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   Aug. 25, 2014 at 7:38 AM   |   Comments

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PHOENIX, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- An American Airlines flight was diverted Sunday after a hacker tweeted that the flight had "explosives on-board."

The plane, AA 362 that took off from Dallas Fort-Worth to San Diego, was diverted en route and landed at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix just before noon, American Airlines spokeswoman Michelle Mohr confirmed.

"It diverted to Phoenix due to a security related issue," Mohr said. "And the flight was met by authorities."

While FBI agents on the ground in Phoenix declined to identify the specific threat, the airline appeared to be responding to a tweet from the hacker Lizard Squad that named Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley.

".@AmericanAir We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley's plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this," a message on the group's Twitter feed read.

The tweet came shortly after Sony's PlayStation Network went down, the target of a distributed denial-of-service attack when the network was flooded with traffic and collapsed. Sony confirmed the network had been taken down by a DDoS attack, and had been restored without any customer data stolen.

The Lizard Squad appeared to take credit for this too, tweeting that "there are lizards in Sony's datacenter" and claimed to have "planted the ISIS flag on @Sony's servers," claiming a connection to the terrorist group acting in Syria and Iraq.

One passenger aboard the flight said the pilot had announced the diversion over the intercom during flight and blamed a "security breach in the cargo section." After the plane landed in Phoenix, passengers were put on buses while dogs inspected the airplane and luggage.

Smedley confirmed he was on board the flight, tweeting from the tarmac. He reassured his nearly 42,000 followers that "all is well," but refused to say more.

"Yes. My plane was diverted," he tweeted. "Not going to discuss more than that. Justice will find these guys."

"Today AA Flight 362 traveling from Dallas to San Diego was diverted to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. The flight landed without incident," the FBI said in a statement Sunday night. "Passengers were safely removed from the plane. The investigation is still ongoing."

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