To compensate for the Christmas Day outage caused by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack launched by hacking group Lizard Squad on Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN), Sony is offering a five-day extension to all gamers who subscribe to PlayStation Plus.
The offer is available for all active members and all members who were on a free trial as of Dec. 25, the same day PSN and Microsoft's Xbox Live went down as targets of Lizard Squad's DDoS attacks. All who are eligible for a free extension will not need to do anything. Sony will automatically activate their extension once it becomes available. For those whose free trial or membership has ended, Sony will also apply the extension immediately without requiring anything from customers. The company will notify customers when the extension becomes available.
"Since access to PlayStation Network was impacted during the holidays, we wanted to show our appreciation for your patience by offering all PlayStation Plus members that had an active membership or free trial on Dec. 25th a membership extension of five days," writes Sony Network Entertainment vice president Eric Lempel in a blog post. "The extension will be automatically applied, so no action is necessary to receive the extension."
In addition, all members of PSN will receive a limited 10 percent discount code that can be used for a one-time purchase of any content available on the network, including Sony's huge selection of indie games, in-game purchases, movies and TV shows, and season passes.
On Dec. 27, Sony announced that it had fully recovered from the DDoS attack launched by Lizard Squad, where massive amounts of fake traffic was directed by the group to Sony's servers, blocking access from legitimate traffic driven by gamers who want to go online. Xbox Live also suffered from a similar attack by the same group.
Lizard Squad has a reputation for spreading online chaos "for the laughs" but the group says its goals eventually evolved to push companies such as Sony to tighten their security. A person claiming to be a member of the group says the recent attacks on PSN and Xbox Live are really a "huge marketing scheme" for Lizard Stresser. The person, who goes by the alias "dragon," tells the Daily Dot that the group is selling a service that allows anyone to launch a DDoS attack against any website, with prices ranging from $6 to $500.
However, Lizard Squad's activities could soon be thwarted if the American and British authorities, who are both on the case of the PSN and Xbox Live outage, are going after alleged Lizard squad members. On Monday, a 22-year-old man named Vinnie Omari was arrested after his home was raided and his belongings confiscated "on suspicion of fraud by false representation and Computer Misuse Act offense."
"They took everything," Omari says. "Xbox One, phones, laptops, computer USBs, etc."
Omari was released on bail later. The allegations against him, however, were not related to the PSN and Xbox Live attacks but cyber fraud offenses for stealing funds from other people's PayPal accounts.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also reportedly hot on the heels of another Lizard Squad member nicknamed "ryan" or "ryanc." However, the agency faces challenges going after the 16 or 17-year-old member who lives in Finland, as Finnish law and international agreements are in the way of the FBI going after underage foreign nationals.