It is not at all clear if he meant to show his face, but a hacker working on behalf of the Lizard Squad hacking organization that was responsible for attacking the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox networks did just that during a recent interview with Britain’s Sky News.
The man went by the name “Ryan” and said that it only took three people to take down gamer networks for the planet’s two largest video game companies.
“This attack was basically done by three people. We had a couple of people from outside the group helping with the attacks, helping us a little bit, but most of the traffic was coming from one or two people,” said Ryna, who added that the three decided to launch their Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks because they sought to entertain themselves.
Later, via the group’s Twitter account, the trio announced that they sought to point out several vulnerabilities in the networks, which collect millions of dollars in monthly subscriber fees and which also chose not to upgrade their cyber security, according to a report on the hack at The Daily Sheeple (TDS) website.
We did this “to amuse ourselves“
A few days ago, Kim Dot Com, founder of the file-sharing site MegaUpload, offered to pay the Lizard Squad hacking group with 3,000 vouchers valued at about $300,000 if they would stop their attacks — an offer the group purportedly accepted. TDS reported that within a 12-hour window after the deal was made, the attack largely ceased.
“Microsoft Xbox users say that their network status has been restored but many Playstation owners report that their network is still down,” TDS reported.
In his interview, which took place via Skype reportedly from Finland, Ryan added, “We have massive capability to take down networks like this. We had a couple of people from outside the group helping with the attacks, helping us a little bit, but most of the traffic was coming from one or two people.”
Asked why the group launched the attack, Ryan replied, “Mostly to raise awareness — to amuse ourselves.”
But he also indicated that the amount of money collected each month from subscribers — while choosing to ignore cybersecurity upgrades — was part of the group’s motivation.
“Because these companies make tens of millions every month from subscriber fees, and that doesn’t even include purchases made by their customers,” Ryan said, “they should have more than enough funding to be able to protect against these attacks.”
He went on to say that, because of the personal data also collected by the mega-gaming networks, they should take more care to protect it from cyber attacks, The New York Post reported.
“And if they (companies) can’t protect against the attacks on their core business networks, then I don’t think they’re really doing that much on their overall level of security,” Ryan said, according to the Post. “And these customers are still giving these companies their credit card numbers and such.”
‘It is sort of a game’
The hacker went further and explained that such attacks are games in and of themselves to their group.
“It is sort of a game for us, I have to admit. I completely understand that it’s a bit unethical,” he said.
Hacking of private networks has been in the news quite a bit lately. Besides the Lizard Group’s attack on PlayStation and Xbox networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computers were recently hacked by hackers believed to have an inside connection with the company, revealing all sorts of personal (and embarrassing) data such as employee salaries and personal communications between company executives.
The FBI has said the Sony cyberattack was done by hackers working on behalf of the North Korean government, perhaps in retaliation for a new film that Sony was set to release called The Interview, in which a pair of reality TV personalities are recruited by the CIA to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Cybersecurity firms have since said they don’t believe that the FBI’s assertion is correct, and that a more likely explanation is that the attack was an inside job.