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PlayStation and Xbox Live networks go offline in apparent cyber-attack

Sony and Microsoft apologise for Christmas disruptions, with online nuisance known as Lizard Squad claiming responsibility.

Sony’s online PlayStation store and Microsoft’s Xbox Live network have been disrupted over Christmas in what is thought to have been a cyber-attack on the companies.
The network outages, which have left millions of users unable to play games and access entertainment channels, are continuing into a second day.
Sony said on Friday that some users were having trouble logging into its network and engineers were investigating. Microsoft said it knew some users were having trouble signing in. “We’re aware of this issue and we’re working to find a fix ASAP.”
An online entity calling itself Lizard Squad, regarded as a serial nuisance by gamers the world over, appeared to take responsibility for the disruptions via its Twitter account. A DDoS attack, which bombards servers with spurious traffic, was thought to have been the method used.
The PlayStation store also experienced spells of inaccessibility earlier this month. That followed the hacking of computer systems of Sony Pictures Entertainment, followed by the release of confidential information on the internet.
Sony and Microsoft had both expected heavy use over Christmas as people who received their computer games tried to hook up. The problems may have been exacerbated by Sony’s decision to let consumers download controversial movie The Interview through Xbox Video as well as other online sources.
Microsoft said in an online message: “Are you having a rough time signing in to Xbox Live? We’re working to get this figured out right away. We appreciate your patience.”
Sony similarly pleaded for patience. “We are aware that some users are experiencing difficulty logging into the PSN,” it said.
On Thursday Microsoft Xbox spokesman Sean McCarthy had declined to give details of how the company may have been preparing for security breaches, given the problems that Sony has experienced in releasing The Interview.
“Of course it’s safe to say holiday season is always a very busy time of year for any consumer electronics company, so we work hard to ensure the stability of our infrastructure when so many consoles are activating for the first time.”

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