Lizard Squad claims responsibility for DDoS attack against former Sony game developer

Lizard Squad, the hacker group responsible for numerous distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against video game companies allegedly have it out for one game developer in particular.

John Smedley, head of Daybreak Game Company, said Thursday on Twitter that his company, which develops EverQuest, Planetside , and the in-development Day Z-inspired online survival game H1Z1, was under yet another DDoS assault. Lizard Squad also on Thursday took credit for the attack, opening another chapter in the group’s focus on Smedley as a target.

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The latest round of attacks coincide with a Reddit post by Smedley about his desire to seek legal retribution against 17-year-old Julius Kivimaki, the Lizard Squad member convicted in Finland of 50,700 charges related to computer crimes. Kivimaki received a two-year suspended sentence and must submit to monitoring of his online activities.

Smedley, whose plane was forced to land in August 2014 after Lizard Squad called in a bomb threat, was not pleased at what he feels is a lack of justice. In his Reddit post, Smedley accused Kivimaki of being one of the conspirators who sent him pictures of his father’s grave with “nasty stuff on it,” who doxxed Smedley and his family, filed false credit card applications in his name, and launched swatting attacks against him.

“So to put this bluntly – I want this [kid] in jail for a long time,” wrote Smedley. “You shouldn’t be able to do crap like this without any hint of a consequence. I plan on doing everything in my power to see him get what’s coming to him in court one way or another.

“I’ve been working with law enforcement to put [Kivimaki] and others into jail where they belong,” wrote Smedley. “Some of them are minors, which makes it tough. Most of them are outside the U.S., which makes it tougher. But I’m patient and I’m going to be relentless about this.”

Lizard Squad has in the past claimed responsibility for DDoS attacks against Sony’s PlayStation Network, servers run by Blizzard and Riot Games. 

Lizard Squad targeted Microsoft’s Xbox Live network and the PlayStation Network, bringing down both services with DDoS attacks on Christmas Day, following preliminary attacks launched earlier in December.

The FBI allegedly began an investigation against Lizard Squad following the Christmas attacks. Sources told the Daily Dot that the target of the FBI’s investigation was a member of Lizard Squad who went by “ryanc,” a 16- or 17-year-old who lived in Finland.

The Daily Dot in December also spoke to Vinnie Omari and Ryan Cleary, the aliases for two Lizard Squad members who claimed responsibility for the Christmas attacks against Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. The pair claimed that the inspiration for the DDoS attacks was a desire to point out the “incompetence” of Microsoft and Sony for their inability to prevent DDoS attacks such as those launched by Lizard Squad.

Daybreak Game Company was formed when Sony Online Entertainment was sold in February by parent company Sony to investment management firm Columbus Nova Technology Partners. Smedley retained his leadership position when Daybreak Game Company was founded.

Photo via wwarby/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) and Atom Ess/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.