This week I try to explain the Lizard Squad attack on PSN and Xbox Live.
To be clear: We don’t know for sure if Lizard Squad really staged the attack. Or if they did, it’s possible that the guys claiming to be Lizard Squad weren’t them. Or if it was, it’s possible the “squad” is really just one guy. It’s all secrets and hearsay. But for the purposes of clarity we’ll just accept the events as presented and talk about them assuming everything is true.
This hackingThis entire attack involved both hacking and DDosing. is interesting stuff. What if you had the power to make international news without physically hurting anyone? What if you could do something that would get the world talking? I imagine this is a big part of the motivation for stunts like this. It’s the equivalent of being able to spray graffiti on a global billboard. You can’t take personal credit without going to jail, but you can watch the world respond to your actions.
Which is to say: Harsh penalties won’t be enough to keep people from doing this. People regularly risk their lives for thrills, or to prove a point, or just to see if they can do something. There will always be people willing to stage attacks like this, so the only thing you can do is build robust systems, secure them properly, and make them tolerant of attacks. So, you know, the exact opposite of what we’ve been doing so far.
I think it’s interesting that Lizard Squad went after both PSN and XBL. That certainly made the attack more difficult, since it required them to divide the botnet between two targets, thus halving its power. I imagine this was to make it clear that this wasn’t a protest attack. If they had gone after just XBL, people would have been speculating about their motives. Was this done by Playstation fanboys? Is this to protest Microsoft in some way? As it is, it seems like, “Because they could” is the most plausible reason for the attack.
 This entire attack involved both hacking and DDosing.
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