Xbox  Microsoft Official

The holidays are a time when game consoles are more popular than ever. People give the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as a gift, or even gamers using the days off work to get into the latest titles, may be in for a shock this year. That’s because hackers have threatened to take both Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) offline.

A new hacking group that has risen from the Lizard Squad hackers. You may remember a couple of years ago, the Lizard Group perpetrated an attack on the PlayStation Network. The attack was carried out on Christmas Eve as the it would “reach the largest amount of people”.

In 2015, the Lizard Group was back with a new threat towards gaming’s two biggest online communities. However, last Christmas gamers escaped the actions of the hackers. While the Lizard Group is not at the heart of the newest threat, the hackers involved are remnants of the previous group.

They call themselves the R.I.U. Star Patrol and say they will launch an attack on Xbox Live and PSN this year. There are two things to consider. First, last year a threat was issued and nothing happened, while in 2014 there was an attack. This makes it hard to predict whether R.I.U. Star Patrol will attempt anything.

Secondly, whether the group is successful will at least partly depend on Microsoft’s and Sony’s mitigations to stop such attacks.

Interestingly, and perhaps worryingly, the group says it is perpetrating the attack for fun, or for “the lulz”.

Tumblr Hack

It is worth taking this threat seriously because R.I.U. Star Patrol has already conducted one attack this week. The hackers targeted Tumblr using a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) malicious attack on Wednesday.

Again, the Star Patrol said they only conducted the attack for fun. Speaking to Mashable, the group said “There is no sinister motive, it’s all for light hearted fun.”

Tumblr was down for over two hours, while other users said the service was working slowly. The network attempted to right the situation, but Tumblr came back only to go down again. Full service was finally restored.