A new hacker group threatens to take down both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network for up to a week starting on Christmas Day after temporarily taking down service on Xbox Live.

In a sort of warped holiday tradition, it appears a new hacker group aims to bring down both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live later this week on Christmas Day. Known as Phantom Squad, the group has claimed responsibility for the recent Xbox Live outage which appears to have affected some users who attempted to log in to the service over the previous night. For what it’s worth, Xbox Live appears to be fully back up and running smoothly.

The group took to their now suspended Twitter account to issue continued threats to both services this coming Christmas day and lasting up to a week. The attacks appear to be motivated around the notion that both Sony and Microsoft choose not to spend their fortunes on upgrading security, so the group is looking to prove a point by bringing down their online services.

Phantom Squad twitter

While no direct link has been made to Phantom Squad and last year’s Christmas Day hacker group, Lizard Squad, this latest threat certainly seems inspired by it.  These hacker groups utilize a method known as distributed denial of service (DDoS), which essentially overwhelms servers by sending a large amount of requests, causing them to crash. It’s a tactic that is hard to stop as requests are made every time someone attempts to access an online service such as Xbox Live, so targeting specific ones, or identifying “bad requests” is virtually impossible to do.

The resulting attacks and further actions of the hacker group Lizard Squad prompted the FBI to get involved and start an investigation against them. Other countries followed suit which eventually led to the arrest of one of the members in Finland. While charged with over 50,000 counts of cyber crime, the individual was only issued a suspended two year sentence and ordered to assist in stopping cyber crime rather than aiding in it.

Sadly, these types of cyber attacks have been becoming more and more common. Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are no strangers to these attacks with both suffering sporadic down time over the past few years. While there isn’t a set solution, Microsoft has indicated that it has learned from past events, hopefully limiting or preventing any sort of downtime for gamers during the upcoming holiday season. Either way, DDoS attacks remain a big issue for companies especially with the public’s increased reliance on the internet.

Do you think Microsoft and Sony have a handle on things this year, or are you fully expecting to have login issues on Christmas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Ars Technica