Updated A string of denial-of-service attacks that took down Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Christmas Day appear to have stopped – and New Zealand-based file-sharing baron Kim Dotcom claims the ceasefire is all thanks to him.
The portly polymath tweeted on December 25 that he was peeved at not being able to play Destiny on his Xbox, and offered members of Lizard Squad – which claimed responsibility for the attacks – 3,000 free lifetime premium vouchers for his Mega cloud storage service if they stopped. Each coupon normally costs $99, and can be sold on underground markets.
Shortly after the olive branch was extended, the DDoS attacks halted. The lizard-styled gang then announced it had ended the assaults in response to Dotcom's offer. XBox Live recovered to normal operation, although Sony's network is still MIA.
Lizard Squad said it brought down the gaming networks "thanks to rooted undersea routers used on transatlantic cables," although there's no evidence backing up that claim.
The DDoSed servers prevented gamers from signing in and playing games; it seems the gang had knocked Microsoft and Sony's login systems off the internet rather than compromised their computers.
Perhaps the goal was simply to convince people to return their console gifts in frustration after being unable to play their shiny new games.
The Xbox Live network now appears to be working, although Sony's PlayStation Network has fallen over – possibly proving the troubled entertainment giant doesn't need the help of hackers to ruin Christmas. PS gamers have been unable to use the network since at least Christmas Eve.
Our engineers are continuing to work hard to resolve the network issues users have experienced today. Thanks for your continued patience!— Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) December 26, 2014
So, in summary, a lot of people got new consoles from Santa and were unable to use them properly after some frenzied unwrapping. If Kim Dotcom did help fix the issue then there'll be some happy punters, but will he continue to pay off DDoSers, and will that encourage more attacks? ®
As The Register hit publish, the squad claims to have added 3,000 relays to the Tor network, which is used by journalists, whistleblowers, security researchers, crims and plenty of other netizens to mask their identities on the internet. Maintaining one's anonymity across Tor may be tricky if a single group controls a large proportion of relays.
"To clarify, we are no longer attacking PlayStation Network nor Xbox Live. We are testing our new Tor zero-day," the gang added.
Updated to add
It appears, as of 2330 UTC (1530 PT) on Friday, XBox Live has gone back down, and Sony PlayStation Network is still titsup. So much for a ceasefire. Merry Christmas, everyone.