Steam/PSN/Xbox : Like 2015, this year also gamers are held hostage by hacker groups

This year’s holiday season began with bad news for gamers as the hacking groups were able to repeat their DDoS performances again and gamers were held hostage again. Last year on 12th December, the infamous band of hackers called Lizard Squad vowed to take down PlayStation and Xbox Live servers through their Twitter account. Microsoft and Sony disregarded their challenge and as a result the entire holiday season was spoiled. The recovery would have taken longer would it not have been for Kim Dotcom of Megaupload fame who intervened and negotiated a truce with the Lizard Squad in exchange for Mega premium vouchers.

This year too, the history seems to be repeating. Only this time, two other groups have joined the DDoS bandwagon against the gaming servers. Phantom Squad and SkidNP are the new hacking groups who have challenged that they will down the gaming servers through the holiday season.

Phantom Squad had promised to DDoS the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network servers. Thankfully, Sony seems to have taken added precautions this year, therefore the DDoS attacks could not cause the world wide outage like the last year. There were reports of both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live servers being down but the effect was temporary.

SkidNP announced a week ago that they would bring down Steam and Minecraft servers. SkidNP has disbanded according to its leader, K, who spoke to us.  However, K and his partner Staze managed to DDoS Steam effectively through the Christmas night. Gamers who were to use Steam to buy and gift games to their near and dear ones were left stranded.

Though, Steam has not confirmed this yet, but the attack left Steam with no option but to turn on Cache servers. This brought a new problem for Steam users who reported being able to log back into Steam, but finding themselves logged-in to someone else’s account when they do so.

According to multiple user reports, they were able to view their credit card information, account balance and account name. Hundreds of users have reported issues over on the Reddit post – along with an official moderator claiming that Valve are working on these issues.

K has stated that the attacks will continue today. When asked about their Minecraft campaign, K told us that they were not looking to DDoS Minecraft as of now.

Phantom Squad also claimed responsibility for the Steam outage though it is very hard to confirm which group was successful in DDoSing the Steam servers. Phantom Squad have just tweeted that they will down PlayStation servers today.

Lizard Squad’s Twitter account seems to be silent this year however, knowing them from their last year’s exploits, we have enough reasons to believe that PlayStation and Xbox gamers are in for a rough ride for the remaining days of 2015.

As a gamer, this is real sad news. Every year in the busy holiday season, they have to face the same problem. It is a fact that even skiddies can DDoS any website with a $10 booter at their disposal. However, the onus of keeping the servers online lies with the big gaming companies. Even Kim Dotcom thinks so!

A word of advice for readers. If you are Steam user, avoid any type of new game purchase for self or for gifting till new year. Do not attempt to change your payment credentials. For others who are planning to give a console as a gift this year to your near and dear ones. You should probably wait till new year. For those who got their new Xboxes or PlayStations, it would be good thing to unbox and register your console in the new year.