A year after the infamous outage of Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live by hacking group Lizard Squad during the holidays, another similar threat has surfaced from a hacking group calling themselves the Phantom Squad.
Phantom Squad, a self-proclaimed grey-hacker group has claimed in a Twitter message that it is going to shut down prominent console gaming networks PlayStation Network and Xbox Live in the upcoming holiday week. Unlike the two-three day outage suffered by the two networks last year, Phantom Squad has claimed that it will take out both networks via Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks for one entire week.
DDoS attacks are basically initiated through a barrage of relentless connection requests reaching servers to cause an extensive load on the target servers, leading to an inevitable crash.
Phantom Squad has also claimed that it has previously taken down the gaming networks of popular titles such as Grand Theft Auto 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Star Wars: The Old Republic in recent days.
Megaupload founder and internet mogul Kim Dotcom, a notable gamer was significant in bringing an end to the Lizard Squard attacks after offering 3,000 mega accounts to the hacking group in exchange for their attacks on the gaming networks to end.
In a statement at the time, a spokesman for Sony acknowledged the outages targeting its own gaming network along with others, stating:
The video game industry has been experiencing high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online gameplay. Multiple networks, including PSN, have been affected over the last 48 hours. PSN engineers are working hard to restore full network access and online gameplay as quickly as possible.
Sony’s PlayStation Network was a free service at the time and although the company has started charging gamers for membership lately, the network has still experienced disruptions this year. It is more than likely that Sony and Microsoft will be anticipating more disruptions during this year’s holidays and gamers will be hoping that the companies have the necessary defenses to mitigate such attacks.