PlayStation Network has been taken offline prematurely – hours before its planned maintenance – and it seems that a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is to blame as a hacking collective going by the name The Lizard Crew has claimed responsibility.

Some users are being greeted with a message that reads ‘the network is undergoing maintenance’ while other are reporting that they are getting NW-31456-9 “Cannot connect to the server within the time limit” error messages with the remaining claiming that they are facing indefinite loading periods.

The Lizard Crew sent out first of their tweets hinting at a possible attack about 5 hours back that read “Any guesses on where the lizards where heading?”

Within a few minutes of that tweet came another one addressed to PSN that read “MIGHT WANNA CHECK UR PIPES”.

In what seems to be a possible explanation as to why the crew is behind PSN, the hackers tweeted “Sony, yet another large company, but they aren’t spending the waves of cash they obtain on their customers’ PSN service. End the greed.”

The crew seems adamant about their intentions of crippling the PSN as one of the tweets read “We’re attempting to slam Sony back into the ground.”

Sony’s John Smedley confirmed the attack through a tweet: “We are under attack by a large scale ddos. Being dealt with but it will impact games until its handled.”

Sony is stating that the issue has now been dealt with and if users are still facing issues their service providers are to blame.

“We are aware that some users are experiencing difficulty enjoying the PSN. We have confirmed the PSN is stable. If you are having trouble, we encourage you to contact your internet service provider”, read the official statement on PSN US support site.

Sony has revealed that the issue has been fixed completely and also assured that no customer information was accessed during the DDoS attack.