PlayStation Network back online, while Lizard hacker group basks in limelight | Technology | The Guardian

PlayStation Network back online, while Lizard hacker group basks in limelight | Technology | The Guardian.

The PlayStation Network, which provides the online infrastructure for Sony’s games consoles, is back online after a cyber assault on Christmas Eve. Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images

The PlayStation Network is back online … for now.

The global gaming service used by 110m people was brought down on Christmas Eve, seemingly by a hacking group calling itself Lizard Squad. On Sunday however, Sony assured customers via its PlayStation blog that the system was now functioning.

The company also admitted for the first time that the disruption was caused by hackers who used a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack to flood the PlayStation servers with traffic, bringing access to a halt.

“As you probably know, PlayStation Network and some other gaming services were attacked over the holidays with artificially high levels of traffic designed to disrupt connectivity and online gameplay,” read the post. “This may have prevented your access to the network and its services over the last few days.”

Microsoft’s Xbox Live infrastructure was also attacked, reportedly by the same group, which revelled in its achievement via a series of tweets throughout Christmas day. However, the Xbox online infrastructure was functioning again by Boxing Day.

Formed in mid-2013, Lizard Squad has been stepping up its media profile in the wake of the Christmas attacks. In a series of interviews, two self-declared founding members have claimed that their motivations are amusement, and to highlight the security weaknesses of the systems.

“If I was working [at Microsoft or Sony] and had a big enough budget, I could totally stop these attacks,” “Ryan Cleary” (a pseudonym borrowed from an infamous LulzSec hacker) claimed to tech news site Daily Dot. “I’d buy more bandwidth, some specific equipment, and configure it correctly. It’s just about programming skill. With an attack of this scale, it could go up to the millions. But that’s really no problem for Sony and Microsoft.”

Speaking to Sky News, “Cleary” added, “These companies make tens of millions every month from subscriber fees and that doesn’t even include purchases made by their customers.

“They should have more than enough funding to be able to protect against these attacks.”

Lizard Squad has claimed that its actions against Sony and Microsoft were more sophisticated than standard DDoS attacks, which don’t usually require hackers to gain access to the target’s online infrastructure.

“There’s plenty of people saying we’re not hackers and DDoS isn’t hacking. For attacks of this scale, you can’t really do them without either having access to insane amounts of funding or being able to gain access to the computers via hacking,” “Cleary” said to Daily Dot. “You can’t just do DDoS attacks from your home computer. It doesn’t work.”

The group has even suggested that it has access to undersea cables that facilitate internet connections between the US and Europe.

But its appetite for fame may prove to be Lizard Squad’s undoing, after security journalist Brian Krebs claims to have uncovered the possible true identities of at least two members, both of whom have conducted TV interviews in the wake of the attacks.


Xbox live and Playstation attack: Christmas ruined for millions of gamers | Technology | The Guardian

Xbox live and Playstation attack: Christmas ruined for millions of gamers | Technology | The Guardian.

Millions of gamers could not use their PlayStation 4 after an apparent cyber-attack at Christmas

 Millions of gamers could not use their PlayStation 4 after an apparent cyber-attack at Christmas. Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images

Millions of people could not use their games consoles for a second day as disruption on the Xbox Live and Sony Playstation networks continued after an apparent cyber-attack.

A group calling itself Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for bringing down both networks on Christmas Eve, which could have affected nearly 160 million gamers.

Even an intervention by eccentric internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, who offered the hackers free lifetime use of his file storage service, does not appear to have ended the attack. Known as a distributed denial of service, or DDOS, the attack is overloading the systems of both services by generating fake access requests.

Such an attack can prevent people from playing games even when they have a physical copy as newer consoles often require online authentication as an anti-piracy measure.


El lobby de Microsoft en un mercado de 36 mil millones de pesos y la pérdida de inocencia del diputado Vlado Mirosevic – El Mostrador

El lobby de Microsoft en un mercado de 36 mil millones de pesos y la pérdida de inocencia del diputado Vlado Mirosevic – El Mostrador.

En juego estaban los miles de millones de pesos que el Estado gasta por año en licencias de softwares. Un reportaje de la Revista Sábado de El Mercurio revela cómo cinco parlamentarios de la Nueva Mayoría cambiaron de opinión en menos de 24 horas y el rol que jugaron los diputados Daniel Farcas y Jorge Insunza. El impacto se sintió en el protocolo de Reforma Tributaria que este martes se vota en la Sala del Senado.

file_20140518210456

Un extenso reportaje de la Revista Sábado, acompañado de una entrevista al diputado Vlado Mirosevic, revela el lobby de Microsoft para mantener control del mercado de software en el aparato del Estado.

En juego estaban 36 mil millones de pesos que el Estado gasta por año en licencias de softwares. La cifra no incluye las consultorías asociadas a las ventas. El reportaje muestra cómo cinco parlamentarios de la Nueva Mayoría cambiaron de opinión en menos de 24 horas y el rol clave que jugaron los diputados Daniel Farcas y Jorge Insunza. El impacto se sintió en el protocolo de Reforma Tributaria que este martes se vota en la Sala del Senado.


Anger and bewilderment in Finland over Microsoft job cuts – FT.com

Anger and bewilderment in Finland over Microsoft job cuts – FT.com.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0db372f6-0dce-11e4-85ab-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz37poeUAKO

Alexander Stubb, Finland's foreign minister, speaks during an interview at his government offices in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. A decline in Finnish unemployment eases pressure on Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi’s cabinet, which last week presented its 50.3 billion-euro ($63.6billion) budget proposal for next year. Photographer: Henrik Kettunen *** Local Caption *** Alexander Stubb©Bloomberg

Alexander Stubb, Finland’s prime minister, said he found the job cuts “very very difficult from a human point of view.”

Politicians and workers’ leaders in Finland reacted with anger and bewilderment at the news that 1,100 jobs in the country would be lost as a result of Microsoft’s plan to cull staff at Nokia’s former handset division.

Prime minister Alexander Stubb said he had known the outlines of the plan but learned the detail in a morning call on Thursday from Microsoft vice-president Stephen Elop. Microsoft on Thursday announced it would shed 18,000 staff globally, with the majority of the job cuts coming from the Nokia Devices and Services unit it acquired for €5.4bn.

Mr Stubb told reporters that he found the lay-offs “very, very difficult from a human point of view”. It was important not to sink into despair but to look to the future, he said.

In September 2013, its then chief executive Steve Ballmer appeared to suggest in an email to employees that Finnish jobs were safe.

“There are no significant plans to shift where work is done in the world as we integrate, so we expect the Nokia teams to stay largely in place, geographically,” he wrote.

But now almost a quarter of Nokia workers in the Nordic country of 5.5m people are facing the start of their summer holidays with the prospect of no job to come back to. Microsoft employs 4,700 former Nokia staff in the metropolitan area of Helsinki, and in Salo, Tampere and Oulu.

The company said it will withdraw entirely from its R&D Centre in Oulu, a city of 200,000 people on Finland’s northwest coast. The centre develops software for low-cost phones and employs 500 people. It would instead focus on the development of key technologies in Tampere and Salo, Microsoft said.

The news did not come out of the blue, senior Oulu shop steward Timo Pukinkorvaa told local media – there had long been rumours that something was afoot. What was shocking, he said, was the “massive” number of redundancies and the fact that the entire unit would close.