Claiming to have discovered a zero-day exploit in the Tor network, cyber saboteur Lizard Squad again finds itself at odds with the Anonymous hacking collective.
Before commandeering Tor's traffic, Lizard Squad launched yet another set of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) against Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft Xbox Live on Christmas Eve.
Lizard Squad claims to launch the cyberattacks to point out network vulnerabilities to their targets, which may explain why the group exploited Tor's alleged zero-day hole. Zero-day exploits expose weaknesses that the software's engineers hadn't previously known about, which leaves them zero days of lead time to patch the problem.
The latest Lizard Squad attack is different than its previous string of DDoS offensives. The attack on Tor is compromising the anonymity of the peer-to-peer network by laying siege to its nodes, which are used to relay information between peers. Tor is free software meant to hide actions on the Internet.
The siege on Tor's relays could enable Lizard Squad to piece together communications that were transmitted under the belief that the information would be anonymous. Lizard Squad is said to hold half of Tor's 8,000 relays.
For group that laughingly plays with the label of "terrorists," Lizard Squad's alleged goal of pointing out network vulnerabilities hasn't gone over well with the established Anonymous group. The day after Christmas, Anonymous allegedly told Lizard Squad to stand down yet again.
"Hey @LizardMafia don't f--k with the Tor network. People need that service because of corrupt governments. Stand the f--k down," stated Anonymous' twitter account.
Lizard Squad simply replied, "Do something." It's a provocative pair of words from a group whose members allegedly were doxxed, which means their personal information was made public.
What has been a two-way battle between Lizard Squad and Anonymous has seen the rise of two new players, one being Finest Squad and the other MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom. Finest Squad emerged to attack Lizard Squad, an enemy it says it and Anonymous share.
Both Anonymous and Finest Squad members have doxxed Lizard Squad members, but the latter group has shown that it has not given up yet. There were some reports indicating that Finest Squad was an offshoot of Lizard Squad, though the former group disputes those allegations.
Kim Dotcom offered Lizard Squad members vouchers to Mega, his new file upload website, in return for a cessation of the attack against the Xbox and PlayStation networks -- the vouchers would be revoked if the attacks returned. Lizard Squad accepted the vouchers, though Sony's PlayStation network continued to suffer issues and Xbox Live later started experiencing issues again.
Sony acknowledged the issues with PSN, which has suffered the most downtime, though it reminded consumers that it wasn't the only network to be experiencing "designed" disruptions. However, both gaming networks were soon brought back online.