Lizard Squad used hacked routers to take down Xbox Live and PlayStation Network

University of South Wales: Information Security & Privacy

How does an unknown hacker crew build up enough power to take down the largest gaming networks in the world? It’s a question that many observers have been asking, on the heels of the DDoS attacks that brought down Xbox Live and the PlayStation network on Christmas Day. Today, Brian Krebs has dug up an unconventional answer: routers. Krebs looked into Lizard Squad, the group behind the attacks, and found much of the group’s DDoS capabililties came from home routers that had been remotely compromised. Using a recently discovered malware variant, Lizard Squad was able to turn common household routers into so-called “stresser” tools, which flooded the networks with bogus traffic, ultimately making them unavailable for legitimate gamers.

Routers are a notoriously easy target for malware attacks, thanks to a slow-to-nonexistent patch schedule and general neglect. A new vulnerability putting more than 12 million routers at risk was…

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