Christmas day is a big day for kids of all ages. It’s that one magic day of the year when your parents or loved ones give you gifts and you can spend most of the day lounging around, eating good food, and playing with your presents you received. A lot of kids receive consoles on Christmas and even more receive the latest and greatest video game releases of the year. Most of the time, these gifts are a hit and the systems will work with little troubleshooting required. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this year. This year some little jerks decided to play Grinch and ruin everyone’s fun.
If you weren’t aware, Xbox Live and Playstation Network were down for most of Christmas day. The Xbox Live services were brought up the following day, but Playstation Network remained down for well over 48 hours with full functionality finally returning late Saturday night. These services went down because of DDoS attacks from a hacker group called the “Lizard Squad.” I watched events unfold, participated in conversations in NeoGaf forums, and from what I was able to gather, this all started because of a feud between rival hacking groups. Lizard Squad claimed they could bring down Xbox Live on Christmas, the other hacker group said they couldn’t, and so the stage was set.
The attacks themselves lasted somewhere around 14-17 hours from start to finish. Kim Dotcom (of Mega Upload fame) eventually stepped in on twitter and offered 3,000 premium vouchers for his site (worth around $300,000) for the group to stop the attack and they accepted. After the attacks concluded, many people were left scratching their heads as to why a group of hackers would do such a thing on Christmas of all days. We didn’t have to wait long for this answer as members of the group were interviewed (more like chastised) on BBC Radio the day after the attacks took place. In this interview, and a subsequent one for Sky Radio, the 22 year old interviewed claimed he did it because he wanted to raise awareness for low security standards in the major corporations infrastructures. He would later add that he thought kids should be with their parents or loved ones on Christmas instead of playing a video game. Not once did they show any sympathy for what they did or the problems they caused for families on Christmas day.
Now that you know the events that roughly took place and in the timeline that they happened, I’ll provide my feelings on the topic…
Don’t let these kids fool you, they didn’t do this to raise awareness or to make sure kids spend time with families. They did this because they are assholes, plain and simple. They did it because they could and that was the only reason they needed. This is the literal internet troll finding something that will hurt others and following through on it. These sociopaths enjoy causing trouble for others and when confronted about it show absolutely no remorse on the topic. They claim that they wanted to make sure kids spent time with their families…right. That is about the most shortsighted reason I could think of. For starters, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Of those that do celebrate, what if they have no family? What if their relatives are overseas? What if members of their family are deceased and the holidays are tough, so they spend time playing games as an escape? I could go on, but you get the point. They didn’t do this to make sure kids spend time with their families, they did this, as I have said before, because they are assholes and because they wanted to be bullies and provoke a response. Plus, any legitimacy their claims may have had went out the window the minute they accepted the vouchers from Kim Dotcom. If you truly felt strongly about something, you wouldn’t back down because you were given vouchers to a site worth any amount of money. Doing this just makes you out to look like extortionists and in the end are nothing more than a common criminal.
My son is still too young for consoles or any video game for that matter, but if in the future we decide to get him his own console and the network was down due to hackers on a major holiday, I would be thoroughly upset. You might say, “But you can still play single player games.” Sure, you can, but not if you digitally downloaded them. Also, to create an account for the first time and start your trophy collection or achievement list, you’ll need a user name/gamertag which can only be done online. In my case, I received a hard drive for Christmas from my wife and decided to switch it out Christmas morning and then figured I would re-download all of my games that evening when we got home from a party. I wasn’t able to use my PS4 again until Saturday night because most of my games on PS4 are digital and they resided on a server somewhere being bombarded by ignorant little kids who just want to do something “for the lulz,” We’ll see how long the lulz last when the authorities get involved.