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Lizard Squad: The hacker group who bought down Sony, Xbox One

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On Christmas day, Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Networks experienced user connection problems for which a hacker group called Lizard Squad claimed responsibility.
While Xbox Live was back after a day, Sony’s PlayStation Networks experienced an outage for nearly three days and it was only today that the company confirmed that the network was back up and running.

So who are the Lizard Squad and what is their claim to fame? According to this post on Daily Dot, the group carried out a massive distributed denial of service attack (DDOS attack) which led to a complete worldwide outage for both services.

Daily Dot spoke to the hackers as well. While one called Vinnie Omari is only 22 and started the attack after waking up from a night of getting wasted, the other is Ryan Cleary. Of course these are not the real names of the attackers.

According to Daily Dot the hackers attacked Microsoft and Sony to show the ‘incompetence’ of these companies. “Microsoft and Sony
are f**king retarded, literally monkeys behind computers,” Omari told the site.

“They would have better luck if they actually hired someone who knew what they were doing. Like, if they went around prisons and hired people who were convicted for stuff like this, they would have a better chance at preventing attacks,” he added.

The attack was so successful because according to Cleary they had access to “some devices that are connected to the undersea cables that facilitate the Internet connects between the United States and Europe and like 100-gigabit-per-second Internet connections.”

Even as the group went along with the attack, another rival hacker group call Finest Squad wanted to do the Christmas Day attack, but they failed.

The Lizard Squard which currently has a Twitter account called Lizard Mafia, wrote this on their timeline after the attack:

Xbox Live #offline
— R.I.U. Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 25, 2014

PSN #offline
— R.I.U. Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 25, 2014

LOL, so many mad gamers desperately trying to get the last roast in. pic.twitter.com/8dmxpxHNWP
— R.I.U. Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 25, 2014

Operations will continue tomorrow. As a result, the group of kiddies who think they are ‘the finest’ will be proven incapable.
— R.I.U. Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 25, 2014

I wonder how many people tried to return their new console thinking it was broken.
— R.I.U. Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 25, 2014

So why did the attack stop? According to the report and based on the Lizard Squad’s timeline, it was because Mega founder Kim Dotcom offered the group vouchers worth nearly $300,000 that can be used in an underground black market.

Confirming again that we are no longer attacking PSN or XBL, nor are any members. We will not be attacking them in the future. Thank MEGA.
— R.I.U. Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 26, 2014

Meanwhile Kim Dotcom tweeted this out saying he had engineered some sort of treaty between the various hacker groups.

Lizard Squad, Finest Squad, Anonymous and myself did a peace summit via @KEEMSTARx. The Agreement: No more attacks against Xbox & PSN.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 28, 2014

Lizard Squad says they have stopped attacks on Xbox & PSN and they will honor our agreement and leave them alone. pic.twitter.com/0Xk5RfhtPx
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 26, 2014

Not only did the group bring down PSP Networks and Microsoft Xbox Live, they even threatened to take down a plane, adds a report in Forbes.

The report points out that the group tweeted saying the flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley had explosives
on board and then American Airlines diverted the plane to Phoenix and confirmed it was for a security-related matter. The boast got the FBI involved into the investigation.

The report adds that Smedley also tweeted out saying, “Yes. My plane was diverted. Not going to discuss more than that. Justice will find these guys.” The tweet is no longer visible on his timeline.
The Lizard Squad group also appears to be in some sort of confrontation with Anonymous, the hacker collective which is more widely known.

The group tweeted out saying, “Looks like Anonymous still hasn’t done shit. Who’s surprised?” Another tweet said, “I think you should stick to defacing random sites nobody cares about with #op[InsertBullshitName] and wearing masks from party city.”

Interestingly the group were mocked the FBI’s efforts to hunt them down and even compared themselves to ISIS. According to the Forbes report they tweeted, “How do you succesfully[sic] prosecute someone with 0 physical evidence?” with videos of the events of 9/11.”

They tweeted earlier this month,

We the Lizards declare e-jihad on the Great Satan, the USA. Our enemies shall tremble as we take everything they’ve come to hold dear.
— R.I.U. Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 23, 2014

For now it appears that the group has indeed stopped its attack. However for many gamer fans Christmas was ruined as they couldn’t log into their PS4 or Xbox One.

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