A hacker group launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Christmas Day, making the services inaccessible for millions of users. As of Friday morning, some users were still experiencing difficulties connecting to certain parts of the services.
The hacker group is seeking attention and notoriety for their attacks. As such, I will not be naming the group or linking to their online presence.
But their online taunts have been backed up, at least partially, by action. After taking down Xbox Live earlier this month, the group said it would attack again on Christmas Day.
Microsoft will receive a wonderful Christmas present from us," the group claimed via a series of tweets on Twitter. [The previous outage was] "just a small dose of what's to come on Christmas ... This is not a threat but a promise ... On December 25 aka Christmas, we will tap in to Microsoft and shut down Xbox Live, FOREVER! So enjoy it while it lasts."
The hacker group did not succeed in fully bringing down Xbox Live on Christmas, and certainly wasn't able to keep the service offline "forever." According to many reports, and I was able to replicate this in my own home, users on Xbox 360 were able to fully use Xbox Live on Christmas, whereas Xbox One users experienced more problems. As of Friday morning, all of the Xbox Live core services were up and running and only a handful of minor apps were having issues, none related to the DDoS attack.
And though Sony was also victimized by these shenanigans, these attacks had nothing to do with the infamous hack of Sony Pictures that impacted the release of the movie "The Interview." That was a sophisticated, state-sponsored cyber-attack whereas the Christmas Day attacks on Xbox Live and PSN were far more basic and didn't involve any actual "hacking," or the theft of personal or corporate data. These guys are punks, not terrorists.