Lizard Squad, like the Grinch himself, set out to ruin Christmas for thousands of innocent people this year. Unlike the Grinch, it succeeded.
The hacker group launched denial-of-service attacks against two gaming sites, Microsoft Xbox Live and Sony PlayStation Network, starting Christmas Eve, effectively shutting them down.
Many of you are probably thinking: Aww, poor widdle gamers couldn’t play “Destiny” for an hour or seven on Christmas Day. Boo-hoo.
Yes, it’s easy to mock this virtual attack on a recreational endeavor that non-gamers often deride, even chuckle about a little. After all, it wasn’t like it was a hit on something like a financial institution or a public utility or even a movie opening.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But no one should laugh this off. Cartoonish name aside, this is an act of terrorism and should be treated like one.
What did Lizard Squad want from this hack? Attention and money, naturally. And they (it? he/she?) got it. One Internet mogul, Kim Dotcom, gave the group 3,000 lifetime vouchers for his Web service Mega, which is something we don’t really understand but apparently the vouchers have a virtual street value of approximately $50 apiece, to stop the attacks. It didn’t work. As of Friday afternoon, Sony PlayStation Network was still down.
That’s how it goes with terrorists. Pay a ransom, and they only will be emboldened.
We know as much about Lizard Squad as any non-tech member of the public, which is to say, almost nothing. The group claimed responsibility for a similar attack this summer and for making threats that resulted in the grounding of a flight that a Sony executive was scheduled to take. It is also linked to the recent Sony email hack and turning off North Korea’s Internet.
It’s hard to know which of these claims, if any, are true. Is it even a group? For all we know, Lizard Squad is one brilliant but exquisitely nasty person in a basement apartment somewhere. One website, WinBeta, posted an interview with a man claiming to be one of the hackers who said the group did this “for the laughs” and to make people angry. He also said he claimed to be able to shut down Nasdaq if he wanted to, but didn’t happen to want to at the moment. But that could be made up, too.
So what can we all do? Just one, important thing. Don’t give them what they want, which in this case was retweets. It might not make them go away, but it will take the fun out of their game.