While the networks are down, players can play games offline on both consoles, but can’t connect through the networks to play with users on other Xboxes and PlayStations – a huge part of the gaming experience on both consoles’ newest models.
Parent companies Microsoft and Sony haven’t provided details on why the networks went down, but have acknowledged the outage to users. As CNN notes, it appears that the outages could have nothing to do with Sony’s decision to stream “The Interview” on Christmas Day.
Instead, a hacking collective called Lizard Squad took credit on Twitter for the attacks, which it said were the result of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). Basically, that means the “squad” says it bombarded the networks with so much traffic that actual users were unable to connect. Weeks ago, Lizard Squad threatened to take down the networks on Christmas Day as a “present” to the holiday’s brand-new console owners. The group also claimed responsibility for an August outage on the PlayStation Network in North America, along with that of Blizzard, the company that makes World of Warcraft.
The outage prompted a mini Christmas Day battle on Twitter, involving three principal parties: Lizard Squad’s alleged Twitter presence, Mega and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, and a counter-hacking group that portrays itself as Lizard Squad’s law-defending nemesis: Finest Squad. As of Friday, both Finest Squad and Kim Dotcom were claiming credit for helping to restore services online – however, it’s not clear what role either, if any, played in assisting to bring the networks back.
Here’s Dotcom’s bid to take credit for stopping the attacks, complete with a ready-made headline-style explanation:
The claim here is that DotCom traded vouchers to his new uploading service for the hacking collective’s promise to end the attacks and not do it again.
“Xbox Live and PSN services coming back. Many regions fully restored. Full recovery imminent. Enjoy your gaming holidays. You’re welcome :-)” he added on Twitter. An account claiming to be associated with the hacker group later wrote, “Thanks @KimDotcom for the vouchers–you’re the reason we stopped the attacks. @MegaPrivacy is an awesome service.”
And here’s the Finest Squad’s:
In any case, the fight resulted in potentially good news for patient gamers: Lizard Squad said it has stopped the alleged attacks that crippled the network, meaning services could be restored to normal, soon.
[This post has been updated]