People Are Worried About Hackers Taking Down Xbox Live And PSN Again

People Are Worried About Hackers Taking Down Xbox Live And PSN Again

As many of us get excited to find brand new games under our trees this Christmas, it’s worth looking back at what happened last year, when some jerks tried to ruin Christmas for everyone.

Many of you might recall the mess that transpired around Christmas 2014, when online services hosting Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network suddenly stopped working for gamers around the world. Xbox Live went down for a full 24 hours, whereas PSN was dead for a whopping two days. The reason? These online networks were being hammered by “distributed denial of service”, which are attacks designed to overload servers with tons of traffic. (Frustratingly, there is no easy way to stop DDoS attacks from happening.)

In other words, the outage of online games during Christmas 2014 was not happenstance. An alleged hacking group known as “Lizard Squad” took responsibility for the attacks, claiming that they took down the services to highlight “incompetence” at Microsoft and Sony. Really, Lizard Squad were big jerks about the whole thing, judging from the interviews members gave the press in the days following the outages.

A few weeks later, some alleged members of Lizard Squad were actually arrested by the authorities, with at least one member found guilty of thousands of charges related to “computer crimes”. One man in particular wasn’t sentenced to go to prison — instead, he was tasked with the responsibility of helping fight against cybercrime, funnily enough.

A year later, there is a possibility that we may see something similar go down in a couple of days. Reports around the web allege that a couple of new so-called hacker groups are threatening Xbox Live and PSN once again, though it’s hard to suss out just how credible these claims are when the only evidence anyone can point to is a string of unverifiable Tweets. Judging from the circus spinning around the potential outage of Xbox Live and PSN this year, it’s entirely possible that the threats are just a bad call for attention. It’s working, too: the threats toward Xbox Live and PSN were trending on Facebook in the US just yesterday.

Meanwhile, people claiming to be a part of the new hacker groups are petitioning for more retweets on Twitter, which doesn’t inspire confidence about veracity. Then again, it’s worth noting that there was an outage to Xbox Live earlier this week, which new hacker groups have claimed responsibility for as well. And last year, before the infamous Lizard Squad attacks went down, the group did broadcast threats beforehand on Twitter too. In short, it’s hard to concretely say if anything will go down this year too.

We contacted both Microsoft and Sony for comment on the situation, but did not hear back in time for publication. It’s unclear whether or not either company expects new attacks during the holidays, or if they are doing anything to prepare for the possibility, either. That said, it’s pretty difficult to stop DDoS attacks from happening, period — this is why they have become so common over the last couple of years. It is not entirely out of the question that we may have to prepare for the possibility of not playing our favourite games online later this week. It wouldn’t be the biggest deal, of course. But the fact this is a concern at all is kind of annoying, considering people spend money for the privilege of playing games online, and it’s also not unreasonable to expect being able to play your favourite games on a holiday.

And hey, there’s always the chance online gaming servers will get overloaded not by hacker arseholes, but by precious “Christmas noobs” who don’t know the difference between a frag and a teabag. Or maybe no services will go down at all! Let’s hope for the best.


  • Xbl never went down at xmas before the ddos stuff started happening, even with the influx of new xmas players. And I wouldn’t expect it to, it’s been able to handle the numbers since the service started.

    It started last week when “Phantom Squad” did a test run by taking down Live for an hour or so, in response to one angry Live user calling them out on twitter (where they had posted their threats to xbl and psn at xmas). They didn’t like somebody calling them out as the douches they are and in response they did a test run on Live.

    Since then, Twitter has deleted the account (wonder why?) and now all we will have is Live and PSN being ddosed with nothing being done to prevent it. I’m sure MS and Sony will respond once their services are being impacted, but not before.

    I wanna hear the news about Shu and Phil busting down the doors with the swat teams and physically taking these little fucks down.

  • Can we please stop calling these losers “hackers”. They are nothing of the sort. Fucking script kiddies

  • Maybe if they took my advice by killing the captured members on live TV these hackers would get scared off and then no one would be worried about not being able to play Destiny or Black Ops 3 on Christmas Day.

    • While I support humiliating, charging, fining and internet banning these wankers, killing goes too far @shithead.

      • Big problem is that by capturing them and giving them a job against online crime send the message of ‘Hey, do something illegal and we’ll give you a high paying exclusive job doing illegal stuff to try and stop other illegal stuff!’

        • I’d have to agree that it seems as though he’s getting off lightly. There might be a method to the madness however.

          By forcing the hacker down this route, it’s basically destroying his online credibility, and effectively doxxing him, which could go some ways to preventing him being able to return to that lifestyle (he’ll forever be known as a snitch amongst his hacker pals). The “carrot hanging from a stick” threat posed on his freedom (i.e help us track down your accomplices or we’ll put you in jail) may also have been the only way to gain info on the other members, who typically won’t get the same leniecy as him.

  • Would be great if Sony and Microsoft announce a scheduled maintenance at about 11:30 tonight for 24 hours…just to make these retards fail. I mean sure, they’ll probably take it down some other time but we can still just say ‘But you couldn’t do it on Christmas…tsk, tsk…couldn’t live up to that promise huh?’

    Honestly, I hope these guys just fuck off.

  • PSN has been a little iffy since they started their “campaign” a few weeks ago but it hasn’t caused me any problems so far. I think my fiends list wouldn’t load for about 10 minutes but came right.

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