Lizard Squad shuts down Xbox Live with DDoS attacks

If you were one of the millions of people who couldn’t watch movies or play games on Xbox Live last night, we have a probable suspect for who screwed you over.

You remember Lizard Squad, right? The individual or lovely set of people who launched DDoS attacks in August against online gaming networks run by Blizzard and Riot Games? And who called in a bomb threat to a plane that was carrying John Smedley, the president of Sony Online Entertainment? According to its Twitter account the group was at it again last night, and the target was Microsoft’s Xbox Live service.

The Xbox Live outage began last night around 9pm EST. Twitter was flooded with complaints from gamers. The outage map on the Xbox Live page on Down Detector lit up like a Christmas tree—strangely appropriate considering that Lizard Squad is claiming these most recent DDoS attacks are in preparation for a Christmas assault.

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No one has any idea who Lizard Squad actually is, nor is there any proof that the group is really behind any of the DDoS attacks for which they’ve taken credit. These attacks and the boasts from Lizard Squad have coincided too many times to be a mere coincidence at this point.

While Xbox Live is currently up and running without any problems, there’s no reason to think that Lizard Squad isn’t capable of following through with their threat to hit Xbox Live again at Christmas. You know, around the time who knows how many gamers are trying to get online with the new Xbox One consoles they were gifted for the holidays.

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Lizard Squad doesn’t hurt Microsoft with these attacks. They hurt all the gamers playing games on Xbox Live, or the Xbox users trying to watch movies or television on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon instant video, or any of the myriad media apps available via Xbox Live.

Considering the crossover between the gaming and hacker communities (though Lizard Squad’s DDoS attacks are a far cry from actual computer hacking by definition), and in light of the inevitable hate that Lizard Squad receives from the gaming community in the face of these DDoS attacks, it’s amazing no one has yet turned Lizard Squad in to authorities.

Several members of Anonymous charged late last year with carrying out DDoS attacks were indicted on conspiracy charges. Gamers are unlikely to complain when Microsoft, Sony, Blizzard, and Riot Games make sure the book is thrown at Lizard Squad when they’re finally caught, as well.

Photo via Tatters ❀/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

Dennis Scimeca

Dennis Scimeca

Dennis Scimeca was the Daily Dot's gaming reporter until 2016. He loves first-person shooters, role-playing games, and massively multiplayer online games. His work has appeared in Salon, NPR, Ars Technica, Kotaku, Polygon, Gamasutra, GamesBeat, Paste, and Mic.