Hackers threaten to bring down Xbox, PlayStation networks on Christmas

. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

A hacker group is threatening to ruin Christmas for Xbox and PlayStation users by taking down both of the gaming networks, just as people are busy unwrapping their new consoles and games.

The group shared its plans to take down the networks on Twitter, using the alias “Phantom Squad.” However, as of Friday, the Twitter account has been suspended.

“We will take down servers on Christmas or Christmas eve who knows? It’s up to you will you waste our money on a console this Christmas to find that it is #Offline?” read a tweet sent by the group last week.

READ MORE: Who is ‘Lizard Squad’ and why do they hack gaming networks?

According to its Twitter account, Phantom Squad said the motivation behind the attack is to show gamers that Sony and Microsoft don’t invest enough in cyber security on their gaming platforms.

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“I get asked a lot on why we do this? Why do we take down PSN and Xbox Live? Because cyber security does not exist,” read a tweet from Phantom Squad.

But this wouldn’t be the first time both Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox would be targeted by hackers.

Last year, PlayStation’s network was knocked offline by an alleged Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, on Christmas morning. Microsoft’s Xbox Live network was shut down in a similar attack.

Hacker group Lizard Squad – which has attacked both PlayStation and Xbox on numerous occasions – claimed responsibility for both attacks. The group said it was trying to expose the number of security issues gaming companies face with their networks.

READ MORE: Sony offers discounts to gamers after Christmas PlayStation hack

Sony ended up paying for the attack in the end, after handing over a five-day extension on PlayStation Plus memberships to make good with its users.

It’s unclear if Phantom Squad is a copy-cat group or affiliated with Lizard Squad.

But if the hackers make good on their threats, it will likely be a PR nightmare for both of the tech giants. Tech billionaire Kim Dotcom tweeted Monday, “Warning @Sony & @Microsoft. You had 1 year to upgrade your networks. If Lizard Squad takes down PSN & XBOX this Xmas, we’ll be pissed!”

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