So much for the Christmas spirit. Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live continued to battle network errors Friday morning after hackers attacked the gaming networks on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Xbox Live service is “limited,” according to its support page, while PlayStation is still offline. Users reported difficulty logging into both servers, suggesting that logon servers were the weak point in the networks’ security.
Hacker group Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for disrupting both video game networks, launching massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm compromised servers with an onslaught of traffic.
Lizard Squad announced plans to take down the servers earlier this month, calling itself the “next generation Grinch,” according to Polygon.
Neither company has confirmed the server errors are due to the cyberattack, but the cause is under investigation. Both Sony and Microsoft expected a surge in their networks this week as new players who received PlayStations and Xboxes for the holidays hooked up and logged in for the first time.
Lizard Squad also claimed it was behind the August attacks that took down PlayStation Network and Blizzard, disrupting connections for games such as League of Legends.
A typical DDoS attack costs businesses $40,000 per hour offline, but for gaming sites as large as these, the cost would be much higher, said Ofer Gayer, a researcher with the security content delivery network Incapsula.
"The most recent attacks against Sony's PlayStation Network and Xbox Live lead us to believe that Lizard Squad is more sophisticated than we had initially thought," Gayer said. "Keeping an entire network offline for three days is a herculean feat, there's no way around it...Lizard Squad is not playing games, and unfortunately neither are you for the time being."
Most Xbox Live services are up and running, but access to some apps, such as IGN and Maxim, is shaky. There is no evidence the attacks are linked to the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking.