Many revelers opening brand-new PlayStation 4 or Xbox One video game consoles on Christmas Day were disappointed to find the gaming networks offline, due to an alleged attack.
As of Friday morning, the situation had improved, but the problems are not completely over: “Xbox Live core services are up and running,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Post late on Friday morning. PlayStation’s network PSN, meanwhile, is still down for the count, according to its status page.
Our engineers are continuing to work hard to resolve the network issues users have experienced today. Thanks for your continued patience!
— Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) December 26, 2014
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:
Xbox and PSN have been restored. Give it about 30min to an hour for full service.
— The Finest (@FinestSquad) December 26, 2014
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]