Kim Schmitz, better known as Kim Dotcom, offered lifetime premium access to his MegaPrivacy service to have the hackers of Lizard Squad stop attacking PlayStation Network (PSN) and Xbox Live. For a while, the networks came back up, but hours after the transaction between Kim and the hackers, the networks bogged down again.
Following the Christmas Day distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Sony and Microsoft's gaming networks, Lizard Squad outraged plenty of gamers around the world as they were unable to log in to activate their new consoles for Christmas. Schmitz, founder of the now defunct file-sharing website Megaupload and himself a controversial personality, stepped in trying to save the day.
Schmitz reached out to the group on Twitter and nicely asked the hackers to stop their attacks on Xbox Live and PSN in exchange for 3,000 MegaPrivacy premium vouchers for the group.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 25, 2014
Asking Mega management to approve 3000 @MegaPrivacy premium vouchers for @LizardMafia if they stop attacking XBOX Live and PSN immediately. — Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 26, 2014
The group accepted and, for a while, Kim and plenty of other people in the world were able to play Destiny and their favorite games on Xbox Live.
Thanks @LizardMafia for stopping attack on XBOX Live & PSN. Let everyone play with their Xmas gifts. Your Mega vouchers have been approved! — Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 26, 2014
Xbox Live and PSN services coming back. Many regions fully restored. Full recovery imminent. Enjoy your gaming holidays. You're welcome :-) — Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 26, 2014
Lizard Squad also credited Kim as the peacemaker who successfully convinced them to stop the attacks. The group promised that it will not try to attack both networks in the future. Kim said he could easily take back his offer if Lizard Squad attacked the networks again.
— Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 26, 2014
Instead, the group says it has set its sights on its new Tor zero-day exploit, designed to bring down the anonymous browser because it is used by "hackers, miscreants and pedophiles."
To clarify, we are no longer attacking PSN or Xbox. We are testing our new Tor 0day. — Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 26, 2014
Confirming again that we are no longer attacking PSN or XBL, nor are any members. We will not be attacking them in the future. Thank MEGA. — Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 26, 2014
Aside from the fact that Kim just set a precedent for hackers who think they could simply take down other people's websites in exchange for whatever their demands are, the ransom didn't turn out to be playing out well.
A look over at Microsoft's support page shows Xbox Live is available but "limited" to Xbox 360. As of 10 a.m. Eastern Time, Xbox One users had difficulties logging in and purchasing downloadable items from Xbox Live.
Sony is a whole lot less helpful, showing only a status of "offline," which was last updated on Dec. 25. Kim then chalked the downtime to Sony and Microsoft's engineering team and insisted that Lizard Squad had stopped attacking their networks.
The problem Sony & MS have is that their own consoles become the DDoS attack because they are constantly trying to reconnect & login :-( — Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 26, 2014
I tried my best to get Xbox & Playstation back online. Sorry that so many of you are still suffering outages. The ball is now with Sony & MS
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 26, 2014
"We are not currently attacking Xbox or PS4, and will not in the future," said the group in a direct message to Kim. "If you wish to know, we are currently attacking Tor infrastructure, which is completely isolated from any gaming networks."
One theory is that Sony and Microsoft simply aren't equipped to handle the great deal of traffic that's plaguing their servers, an issue that isn't surprising at all, given their networks' usual "down for the holidays" problems. Both companies have remained mum on the issue, so there is no way to confirm that.
Another theory, and also a plausible one, is that PSN and Xbox Live are under attack again by Lizard Squad, but not the Lizard Squad Kim interacted with. It's another Lizard Squad using a different Twitter account, and the group is taking responsibility for bringing both networks down again.
While one Lizard Squad has promised never to touch PSN and Xbox Live again, another is bragging about creating free listings for games such as Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on both networks, an attack that calls for more advanced skills and resources than a simple DDoS attack. It seems Lizard Squad has gotten its cake, and it's maniacally devouring it too.