TORONTO – Microsoft’s Xbox Live network is up and running following a possible Distributed Denial of Service attack late Monday. But the hacker group who has claimed responsibility for the attack has threatened more attacks come Christmas.
Xbox owners began reporting the service outage around 8:30 p.m. ET Monday on Twitter. Many reported receiving the error code “80151909” when trying to sign into the service, warning them their Xbox Live profile failed to download.
The service, which allows users to connect with other Xbox players online, was offline for several hours, according to user reports on social media.
A hacker group called Lizard Squad took to Twitter to claim responsibility for the attacks, tweeting, “Microsoft will receive a wonderful Christmas present from us,” around the same time user reports began surfacing online.
Minutes later, the group tweeted a link to a Twitter search for “Xbox Live” saying, “Here’s some quality entertainment.”
Who is Lizard Squad?
Lizard Squad has become a notable hacker group, due to its ability to take down large gaming networks using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
DDoS attacks work by flooding a targeted service with as much traffic as possible, until the server is overloaded and crashes, taking the service offline.
In August, Lizard Squad took down Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) for many hours using a DDoS attack. During that attack the group also gained the attention of the FBI after causing an American Airlines flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley to divert after tweeting that there were explosives on the plane.
The group also took down Call of Duty: Ghosts and EA Games’ FIFA, Madden and Sims 4 in late September.
Originally, the group said they took down Sony to protest the company charging players for multiplayer services, but not putting the money back into its network services.
But weeks later the group posted a statement online stating, “Our motives varied throughout this adventure. Originally it was to see if we could evade being caught and to experience the raw thrill of anarchy, not being bound to phony laws.”
The group added, “Really we are just a bunch of guys with too much free time.”
Some say Lizard Squad launches attacks simply to annoy gamers and gaming companies.
Thanks to the group’s history, many are speculating that Xbox’s network fell victim to a DDoS attack as well. However, Microsoft has not yet commented on the incident.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Lizard Squad claims it has more in store for Microsoft.
“That’s a small dose of what’s to come on Christmas,” the group tweeted following the Xbox Live outage.
Xbox Live was not experiencing any issues as of Tuesday morning, according to the Xbox support page.