Why Hacker Gang 'Lizard Squad' Took Down Xbox Live And PlayStation Network

Over the last two days, the hacker collective “Lizard Squad” has claimed responsibility for taking down Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live during Christmas and Christmas Eve, to the dismay of thousands of gamers. 

As of Friday morning, PlayStation Network is still down, and Xbox Live service is “limited.”

Lizard Squad is not hacking these services, but rather launching massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that overload the servers with bogus requests. Another hacker group, called “The Finest Squad,” is trying to offset these attacks by DDoSing Lizard Squad’s own servers to stop these attacks at the source. 

Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft are scrambling to upgrade the security on their systems — even though neither company has stated the downed networks are the result of a DDoS attack.

Lizard Squad spoke to WinBeta on Thursday via an encrypted connection, asking the group about their motivations and methodology. Here’s what they learned:

  • Taking down PlayStation Network and Xbox Live started “for the laughs,” but eventually they found a cause to rally behind: Forcing these companies to upgrade the security on their networks.
  • Lizard Squad chose Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because they believed “it would anger and reach the largest amount of people.”
  • The gang considered taking down Nintendo’s online service, but did not, for no particular reason given.
  • When asked if the group would consider addressing other targets, Lizard Squad said they “could take down NASDAQ if they wanted to damage the economy,” but said that’s not their goal.
  • The easier game network to take down was Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Sony had apparently upgraded its security recently, which took “a bit of time to work around,” but Microsoft had “almost nothing” in terms of security.
  • Lizard Squad offered no timeframe as to when these attacks would stop: They said they will continue until the companies “learned from their security issues.”

Lizard Squad issued a threat last week saying it would take down PlayStation Network and Xbox Live over the holidays. 

You can read the full “interview” with Lizard Squad over at WinBeta. You should also check out the story of how The Finest Gang is keeping Lizard Squad at bay.

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