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Playstation Network Held Hostage By Lizard Squad

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Playstation Network and Xbox Live went down on Christmas Day, to the inevitable chagrin of anyone who found a game or two in their stocking this year. Sony Online Entertainment chief John Smedley confirmed that the service interruptions were a result of denial of service (DDOS) attacks.

The group responsible for the attacks is known as ‘Lizard Squad’, who admitted to being the ones behind the DDOS attacks on World of Warcraft and League of Legends in August, along with an earlier Playstation Network attack in the same month.

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Currently, Xbox Live is up and running but limited, while PSN is down for an unknown period of time.  The original Lizard Squad had ceased the attacks early Christmas, but a different group riding on the publicity of the original DDOS team set up a fake Twitter account in a trolling attempt. The fake “Lizard Squad” tweets seem to imply that they’re holding the network hostage, so to speak, unless people tweet #VerifyCrucifix. The group is also sending out tweets claiming popular videogame titles such as Destiny and Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Playstation Network are now free, presumably to attract more attention.

“Although this has impacted your ability to access our network and enjoy our services, no personal information has been accessed,” says Sony in the statement. Panicking is unadvisable at this point – a DDOS attack is just an artificial traffic jam.

Additionally, Smedley found that his flight to San Diego had been diverted to Phoenix “due to a security related issue”. Lizard Squad had sent a tweet to American Airlines claiming that the chief’s plane had explosives on board, immediately prompting the airline company to meet the flight in Phoenix with the proper authorities.

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Sony’s previous PSN hacking in 2011 gives the company a good reason to be anxious about the attacks. 77 million accounts were compromised during a hacking attempt that kept the network down for a month, and although this round of hackers seems to be focused on simply overloading the servers, the worry surrounding this issue is understandable.

UPDATE: As of Sunday, Dec. 28, Sony has reported that the Playstation Network is back online.

“PlayStation Network is back online,” Sony states in a recent blog update. “As you probably know, PlayStation Network and some other gaming services were attacked over the holidays with artificially high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online gameplay. This may have prevented your access to the network and its services over the last few days. Thanks again for your support and patience.”

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About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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  • disqus_WNaibno9M4

    The “LizardSquad” You quoted was the fake twitter abusing the ddos for publicity, the real lizardsquad is @LizardMafia. They stopped Christmas night, Playstation is using the time to try to make it to where this can’t happen again.

  • Scott Brady

    Here is an idea. How about if you want to play a game that doesn’t need to be online to play (Like campaign COD) you make it so you don’t need to be online to play. This way your gaming system is just an expensive brick when someone decides they want to take you servers down. Also, Lizard Squad, seriously if you guys/gals have the skills to do this type of stuff couldn’t you use these skills for legal productive tasks? All the time / money spent to learn these skills and this is how you want to use them? It’s like spending years learning how to pitch at a major league level and then just using it to kick neighborhood kids asses in snowball fights.

    • Ben Moreno

      Exactly. I love playing destiny with my son who’s away in the military. Aside from that I just switch to some Mario cart or campaign. Nice snowball analogy.

    • Josh Otanda Henderson

      I was thinking about posting a comment similar to this! Freaking Lizard Squad is stupid no one likes what they do. They’re just children who are basically the bullies of the playground known as the internet going around and taking our lunch money and beating smaller kids up.

    • Andrew

      There’s really no skill to this, it’s not even actual hacking. You can learn how to do it by just using Google then get a small group of friends. Lizard Squad is literally just a bunch of kids being shit heads, their personal info was published online by a rival group that actually knows how to hack stuff.

  • reaper75

    And they say sony is superior to Microsoft guess not I’m playing my new stuff now on the xbox one what are you guys doin yeah thought so.

    • Jordon Sandoval

      Same. I had a little bit of an issue with Xbox early on Christmas day, but from that afternoon all the way to now, I’ve had no issues. My PS4 has been a brick, though.

    • David Beane

      And its that very sence of console superiority that keep’s us gamers divided SMH -_-

      • Jordon Sandoval

        Smugness and arrogance aside, he’s not wrong. This should be humbling for Sony, as Microsoft was mixed up in all this, too. They know how to get out from under it, though, and since Sony’s huge screw up in 2011, you’d think they’d have this all figured out by now.

  • Jordon Sandoval

    It’s interesting that both Xbox Live and PSN were both attacked, yet Xbox Live was only down for a few hours. I’ve played online on my Xbox One at some point of every day over the past week, but I haven’t been able to even load a game on my PS4 since this all started.

    I wonder if they’re now specifically targeting Sony because of something Sony did (The Interview?), or if they find Sony’s security and software engineers to be less competent and the results they get are more aggressive than from Xbox Live. Either way, it sucks, and Sony needs to improve their infrastructure. With all these “stability updates” the PS4 has gotten, there’s almost no excuse for this.

    • David Beane

      Microsoft should at least try to help sony even if they are competitive companies

      • Jordon Sandoval

        How would they do that? They don’t have access to anything related to PSN. And it isn’t Microsoft’s responsibility to clean up after Sony every time they make a mess. Sony simply needs to get better software engineers.

        It was obvious before this gen of consoles even started that Sony was primarily a hardware company and Microsoft was primarily a software company. Good hardware pays off when the software works, but when it doesn’t, that hardware is ultimately useless.

        • Jordan Andrew Crosby

          Maybe if playstation actually had people pay for online services they could afford better security for their platform

          • Drew Eichenberger

            Cough COugh (playstation Plus)

  • derrick

    The “#verifycrucifix” tag is a direct reference to the twitter handle “@fuckcrucifix” who has been instigating/orchestrating alot of the attacks. He keeps tweeting things like “1500 retweets or I shut down PSN” or “Fav for PSN, retweet for xbox. Loser gets shut down”

  • Taylor Jodoin

    Glad to be of the pc master race =) not to be a smug dick (or to jynx our good fortune) but steam didn’t get hacked =) Valve is awesome in this regard. even if they did get hacked, there are too many different ways to game online on a pc for ALL of them to get shut down, unlike with consoles, where everyone can get s@#t blasted by one of the simple little stunts. That’s the problem with consoles. You get the hardware for cheaper, but you are stuck with one game distributor, in this case Microsoft or Sony… or nintendo…. and games cost TOO MUCH because you are at their mercy. Pay twice as much as you would for a console (or more) but way less than half as much on games, with more titles to choose from that never go obsolete, and never have to worry about backwards compatibility. Your favorite game from years ago will work just as well on any pc as it used to; better probably, and there will be actual ppl on actual servers still, because games don’t just die because they are old here. They die when people stop giving a crap.