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Hacker collective “Lizard Squad” has reportedly claimed responsibility for taking down Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live on Christmas and Christmas Eve, to the dismay of thousands of gamers.

PlayStation Network remained down Friday morning, with Xbox Live service only being “limited.”

Lizard Squad is not hacking these services, but it is launching massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overload servers with bogus requests. This kind of attack is synonymous with that Anonymous used to launch attacks on Mastercard over Wikileaks, a few years ago.

Hours after Microsoft’s Xbox Live went down Wednesday, Sony’s PlayStation Network went down, too.

These are two giant networks that console gamers access to play their games online. It’s especially bad timing since a lot of people are probably getting new PlayStations and Xboxes for Christmas.

Another hacker group, “The Finest Squad,” has been trying to offset these attacks by DDoS’ing Lizard Squad’s servers to stop these attacks at the source.

The two hacker groups were involved in a Twitter exchange over the attacks.

Sony and Microsoft are scrambling to upgrade the security on their systems — even though neither company has said the downed networks are the result of a DDoS attack, Business Insider reports..

Lizard Squad spoke with WinBeta on Thursday via an encrypted connection, asking the group about its motivation and methodology. Here’s what it learned:

  • Taking down PlayStation Network and Xbox Live started “for the laughs,” but eventually the collective found a cause to rally behind — forcing these companies to upgrade the security on their networks.
  • Lizard Squad chose Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because it believed “it would anger and reach the largest amount of people.”
  • The gang considered taking down Nintendo’s online service, but did not, with no particular reason given.
  • When asked if the group would consider addressing other targets, Lizard Squad said it “could take down NASDAQ if they wanted to damage the economy,” but said that’s not its goal.
  • The easier game network to take down was Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Sony had apparently upgraded its security recently, which took “a bit of time to work around,” but Microsoft had “almost nothing” in terms of security.
  • Lizard Squad has not said when the attacks would stop: It said they would continue until the companies “learned from their security issues.”

Lizard Squad issued a threat last week saying it would take down PlayStation Network and Xbox Live over the holidays.

Information from Business Insider was used in this report.

Image Credit: Gameskinny.com