Gaming

Hackers could be about to ruin your Christmas and there’s nothing you can do about it

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David Cornish
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It's Christmas day morning. The turkey is sweating in the oven, the living room strewn with wrapping detritus, and across the nation gamers are eagerly booting up their new consoles for the first game of Star Wars: Battlefront. 

As the console goes looking for its internet connection, disaster strikes: Xbox Live/the PlayStation Network is down. Controllers are flung, strops are had and Christmas is ruined. 

This is the scene set to be lived out by gamers across the globe if the threats of hacker group Phantom Squad are to be believed. 

The hacker group has threatened to down both Microsoft and Sony's online gaming networks with a distributed denial of service - a method of bombarding the servers that run an online network or service to the point of overloading their capacity, preventing them from working.

Phantom Squad claims to be a "legit" hacking group, responsible for taking Reddit offline for a matter of hours on 15 December.

Their threats to disrupt Microsoft and Sony's networks gained massive attention after internet entrepreneur and web vigilante Kim Dotcom appeared to tweet his support for the attack. 

The proposed attack on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network draws several parallels with a distributed denial of service attack carried out by the group Lizard Squad during the Christmas season of 2014.

In an apparent effort to demonstrate that large companies needed to upgrade their security systems, Lizard Squad disabled both networks for extended periods, culminating in Kim Dotcom bringing about a ceasefire when he offered the hackers 3,000 accounts on his encrypted upload service Mega. 

Will Phantom Squad will make good on their threats? Does Kim care enough to prevent gamers having another ruined Christmas? We'll watch the drama unfold on 25th December - best get some DVDs queued up just in case.

[Via: Variety]

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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