Hackers Threaten To Bring Down PSN, Xbox LIVE This Christmas, Will 2014 Repeat?

Could gamers on the PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE survive another Christmas of their favorite gaming services being brought down by attackers? Another hacking group called Phantom Squad is currently threatening to bring down the PS4 and Xbox One online services for Christmas and keep both offline for a week.

PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE were brought down for the 2014 holidays by a group calling itself the Lizard Squad, as the Inquisitr reported at the time. The attacks continued until the day after Christmas when controversial technology personality Kim Dotcom paid off the Lizard Squad to cease the attacks so he could play Destiny.

The effects of the Christmas 2014 outage lingered for a few days as millions of new console owners attempted to flood the still-recovering services. Sony also gave PlayStation Plus subscribers free days back as compensation for the time they were unable to play online.

Members of the Lizard Squad were eventually arrested for various charges, not necessarily related to the PSN and Xbox LIVE attacks. The question remains: Have Sony and Microsoft beefed up the security for their two services?

That question will apparently be put to the test, as a new hacking group calling itself Phantom Squad recently issued the following threat, as reported by the New Zealand Herald.

We are going to shut down Xbox live and PSN this year on christmas. And we are going to keep them down for one week straight #DramaAlert

— Phantom Squad (@PhantomSqaud) December 9, 2015

The group claimed responsibility for a Reddit outage on Tuesday due to the website coming “under extreme load.” That is an indicator of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that was the same method used to bring down both PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE last year. DDoS is a form of attack that floods a server with requests to the point that it cannot respond to legitimate requests by users.

The motive for bringing down Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network with such attacks is nebulous at best. From the gamer and consumer perspective, it is “jerk” move that harms them just as much, if not more, than the companies that are the target of the attacks. Meanwhile, the attackers claim their actions are either for the laughs, but the Phantom Squad has another point to prove.

Cyber security is a constant back and forth between security professionals trying to keep attackers out and attackers trying to find new ways in. What good attacking the PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE does during a period when millions of kids and families receive their new console can only be concocted by these hacking groups.

Should PlayStation and Xbox owners expect Kim Dotcom to come to the rescue once again though? He does not appear inclined to pay off any potential attackers this year.

He followed this with the following statement to the New Zealand Herald:

“I managed to strike a deal with the hackers last year to stop the attack,” he said. “I doubt I will be able to do it again. I bought Sony and Microsoft time to upgrade their networks. Let’s hope they used that time wisely.”

The Phantom Squad has already posted what it claims is video proof of attacks on the PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE, and even Steam. Presumably, all three services are working to beef up their security ahead of the attacks, but they haven’t announced anything officially.

[Image via Barone Firenze / Shutterstock.com]