Xbox Live Network Hit by Apparent DDoS Attack

If you have an Xbox and you're having a hard time signing on to Xbox Live, there may be a nefarious reason for that. A hacker group that made a name for itself by attacking online gaming services has apparently struck again.

In a Twitter post, Lizard Squad claims it took Xbox Live down. This is the same Lizard Squad that executed a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that crashed Sony's PlayStation and Entertainment Network back in August.

This may be just the beginning. Another Lizard Squad tweet promised, "That's a small dose of what's to come on Christmas."

The Xbox Live attack prevented users from signing on overnight. "We're currently working to resolve this. Thanks for your patience," the Xbox support team tweeted just before midnight Monday. On Tuesday, Microsoft's support site reported everything was "up and running."

What's the Motive?

We caught up with Igal Zeifman, a researcher and product evangelist at cloud-based Web site security provider Incapsula, to get his take on the DDoS attack. He told us much like Lizard Squad's attack on Sony's PlayStation Network in September, he sees more gaming sites being hit by DDoS attacks -- and the reasons run the gamut.

As potential culprits, Zeifman pointed to angry gamers looking for revenge on the moderators who kicked them out of a community; rivals in the gaming ecosystem -- such as how-to sites or virtual good exchanges -- looking to take down a competitor for a larger share of the affiliate fees market; and outright extortionists who know the cost of downtime.

"This trend is likely to continue for two main reasons: First, anyone can access 'DDoS-as-service' solutions today and generate mid-sized attacks for a less than $50. Second, the coverage of attacks is instant and widespread. When all you need is a PayPal account, instant Internet notoriety...

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