Phantom Squad hackers claim 3 hour Xbox service outage, promise the same for PlayStation network
Fri 18 Dec 2015
Having threatened to take down Microsoft’s Xbox services at Christmas, a hacker group called Phantom Squad are claiming responsibility for three hours of downtime on the Xbox Live service yesterday evening.
Reports of Xbox Live login problems were anecdotal, but epidemic, and Phantom Squad managed to take credit for the reinstatement of the Xbox service just hours before Twitter pulled its account. The original tweet threatening attacks on Microsoft and Sony read: ‘So we are going to DDoS Xbox&PSN on Christmas Day We Dont Joke We Are Always Watching Christmas Day PSN&Xbox This Is Not A Bluff.’ The post-attack boast is quoted as: ‘Lmao OF F***ING COURSE xbox live is back online we stopped the attacks,’
The fringe hackers claim that the purpose of the attacks is to highlight poor security in gaming networks, with one tweet explaining ‘The only reason we are doing this its @Xbox & @PlayStation Fault, Because we are proving there is no cyber security PSN Fix it b4 it happens.’. An earlier tweet read ‘If cyber security really has existed. Then what we do should not be possible.’
Some sites are quoting a Microsoft’s notification on the Xbox Live status site which now appears to have been removed, and read:
“Hey Xbox members, are you having trouble purchasing or managing your subscriptions for Xbox Live? Are you also having an issue with signing into Xbox Live? We are aware of these issues and are working to get it fixed ASAP! Thank you for being patient while we work. We’ll post another update when more information becomes available.”
(This apparently ephemeral notice shouldn’t be confused with the long-term IGN app warning at the bottom, which follows the same hipspeak boilerplate and has been on the status page in various forms since November.)
Attacks on gaming networks seem to have become a less welcome Christmas tradition, since these new assaults come almost exactly a year after the similarly-styled Lizard Squad succeeded in taking down the PlayStation network in the closing stages of a December weekend.
At the time of writing Microsoft has not yet commented on the Xbox Live outage or confirmed the cause of it.