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Hackers plan to ruin Christmas for gamers again

Last year it was Lizard Squad DDoSing PSN and Xbox Live. Given that they're in jail, this time it's Phantom Squad playing Grinch.

What’s green and enjoys whisking Christmas toys away?

There’s always the Grinch.

Last year, of course, it was the heart-of-a-seasick-crocodile Lizard Squad hackers who ruined gamers’ Christmas by launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

This year, the green uglies are a new hacking group that’s threatening to take down the two gaming networks for a week during Christmas.

The DDoSers call themselves Phantom Group (@PhantomSquad) and are blaming the victims – the targeted companies – as did Lizard Squad last year.

Two of the messages coming out of that now-suspended Twitter account:

We will take down servers on christmas

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.

If it sounds like the Ghost of Lizards past, you recall last Christmas correctly.

A man speaking for the hackers last year told Sky News that the Christmas attack was done “to raise awareness” and “to amuse ourselves” and that it was all Microsoft and Sony’s fault:

They [Microsoft and Sony] should have more than enough funding to be able to protect against these attacks.

The Phantom Squad claims that it’s not affiliated with Lizard Squad.

On Tuesday, the hackers claimed responsibility for knocking Reddit offline.

Today . What should it be tomorrow

Reddit confirmed that something was up, saying that its databases were coming “under extreme load” – an issue that could have been caused by a DDoS attack.

According to The Hacker News, neither Microsoft nor Sony confirmed the DDoS attacks, but Microsoft, at least, acknowledged issues with Xbox Live when Phantom Squad claimed responsibility for knocking it offline on Saturday.

In short, it seems that the group isn’t bluffing.

It could pull the plug on gamers who might not even be able to play their new Christmas games offline, given that many gifted games will attempt to update before first run, while new consoles will need to be updated before they’ll play a game.

Phantom Squad might not think it has affiliation with Lizard Squad, but it shares the same garlic-laced soul of its predecessors.

Sooner or later, its members may well look forward to sharing a similar fate: namely, getting arrested.

A lot!

Image of Santa on laptop courtesy of


If they want to do it to raise awareness I understand but why would they not put their plan into action at a time when it’s less detrimental to the consumer?

Ruining millions of people’s Christmas just to say MS and Sony “I told you so” seems ridiculous.

They could’ve just done it when there was a big launch of a single game.


They already recommend unboxing and updating any consoles before Christmas day, and honestly, I’m a little happy they do this. Christmas is supposed to be about spending time with your family, not about the gifts you get. That new console or game? You can wait until the day after to plug it in and play…


So what if we plan to game online, me and the kids in the same room each with his/her own console, having fun as a team? Like many weekends quality time. Times change, you’re old fashioned. ;)


So again, no quality time with the kids playing online as a team. It’s such great fun to game together in the same cave, each having his/her own console. It’s a new era, board games are old fashioned. Times change. It’s really sad that these so called hackers ruin the Christmas of many families by thinking they can decide for them.


Board games are old fashioned? According to boardgamegeek com there were 4700 new board games published in 2015. So why not to buy one of them? With candles you can play even if there is a blackout :-) Happy christmas!


Because it ended so well the first time, lol.
Also why are consoles required to go online to update games before playing?
Why do I have to be required to have an internet connection to play 60$+ games on a 3-400$ console? If you can’t put the disk in, or at the very least rock a multi-disk game because there’s so much content – and just play… then maybe something needs to change there.

I disagree with their choice to ruin a week of videogaming for kids that have no idea what is even happening, and likely will think somethings wrong with what they got.

Their reason on the other hand I completely agree with, Both companies are DEFINITELY capable of adding more to their cyber security squads versus being so money hungry. If you can’t protect the information you quite literally require for people to use your services and retail items then why bother. Would you trust your money and information to a bank that isn’t secured and can be taken down by three 12 year olds with modern dsl speeds? I know I wouldn’t. This also isn’t a drastic statement by any means, when Microsoft, for example, holds C.C. info and billing information. Given your name is likely attached in more ways than one to that account, I’d say you might as well hand out copies of your ID and personal info.


This hacker group (and the previous group) isn’t solving the problem. I thought these hackers were supposed to be smart.


@roy: These particular hackers seem to THINK they’re smart, but they’re probably not as smart as they think they are.


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