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British man arrested in Christmas Day hack attack on Sony, Xbox

British man arrested in Christmas Day hack attack on Sony, Xbox
An 18-year-old man in northwest England was arrested by U.K. police in an investigation linked to the Christmas Day hacking of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox Live and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation Network Internet services. A file picture taken in October in Paris shows visitors standing at a booth for Playstation 4 as they attend the Paris Games week show. (Stephane de Sakutin / AFP/Getty Images)

An 18-year-old man in northwest England was arrested in connection with a Christmas Day hacking of Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Live and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation Network Internet services.

British officers working with the FBI arrested the man on "suspicion of unauthorized access to computer material," and of threats to kill, Merseyside Police said in a statement.

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The Internet services were pushed offline on Dec. 25, and hackers known as the Lizard Squad later claimed responsibility. The video-game networks were hacked on the same day that the film "The Interview" was released online, after major U.S. theaters decided not to show the movie last month following a series of hacking incidents at Sony's TV and film unit.

A different group called Guardians of Peace claimed responsibility for infiltrating Sony Pictures Entertainment’s servers, destroying data, exposing Hollywood secrets, and initially forcing the movie studio to cancel the release of the comedy in cinemas.

That group and Lizard Squad had threatened further disruptions on Christmas Day. Police on Friday said they seized a number of digital devices at the suspect's home in Southport, England, north of Liverpool.

"We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done," said Craig Jones, head of cybercrime at the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, in a statement. "Cybercrime is an issue which has no boundaries and affects people on a local, regional and global level."

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