Hackers are screwing with online gaming again. It was only a few months ago when the popular hacking crew "Lizard Squad" was going after the Playstation Network, taking it offline for a short period of time. It wasn't the only time Lizard Squad had brought down an online gaming network, and these recurring outages have created frustration for gamers across the globe. Unfortunately for some Xbox Live gamers, the headaches are coming back.
New World Hackers is taking responsibility for bringing down Xbox Live in Europe and parts of the United States over the past couple of days. The attacks originally showed up in the form of online purchasing problems, but grew into online multiplayer shutouts. If you were in an affected region, you probably couldn't do anything online other than sign in to Xbox Live, not exactly a fun feature on its own. New World Hackers' tweet to Microsoft looked like a threat to end Xbox Live as we know it, yet the hacking group may not actually be interested in watching the online community of Xbox burn.
Newsweek got a chance to speak with a member of NWH. This unnamed member said that hacking Xbox Live “didn’t even take as long as [they] thought”. NWH “attacked Xbox to protest [because] major companies like this have massive servers but no real protection. We want Xbox to update the protection they have, which isn’t much.” Though the message is one of good intent, these actions aren't without collateral damages.
It's most unfortunate that gamers would have to put up with online outages, regardless of who's supporting the network. For many players, outages reached beyond 12 hours on average, with some Xbox Live users saying they were without service for over 14 hours. Xbox Support acknowledged the overwhelming customer inquiries regarding connectivity issued with Xbox Live.
The big question in the aftermath of NWH bringing Xbox Live down, is whether or not Microsoft and other companies with similar services will bother to do security upgrades sooner or later. There's a lot of personal data sitting within their servers and hacker groups willingly breaking into these major services poses an obvious security risk down the road.