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Hacked? Xbox Back Online, While PlayStation Down Another Day

Thousands of people reported Christmas Day problems on the Xbox Live and Playstation gaming networks, as a band of hackers took gleeful credit.

Microsoft's Xbox Live was "up and running" on Friday while Sony Corp's PlayStation remained offline for a second day — even as the group that claimed it brought down both services just in time for Christmas said it had stopped the alleged cyber attack.

The gaming networks, which allow users of the popular consoles to play the video games with a wider online community, first crashed on Wednesday evening. The problems persisted on both systems into Friday, enraging many users — but especially those on the still-suffering PlayStation network.

"Rumbling past 50 hours now," one gamer wrote on Twitter. "Day two of owning a $350 piece of plastic," wrote another. "No internet, no log in, no nothing."

A hacker group called "Lizard Squad" gleefully claimed responsibility for knocking the services offline, saying on Twitter on Thursday that it had overwhelmed Sony and Microsoft's servers with bogus user traffic. On Friday, however, it claimed the cyber attacks had stopped.

"Confirming again that we are no longer attacking PSN or XBL, nor are any members," Tweeted a self-identified member with the handle "Lizard Mafia."

PlayStation scrambled to resolve the problems late Friday, as Sony tried to rebound from a devastating earlier hack related to its movie, "The Interview," which debuted on Thursday. Xbox is owned by Microsoft, one of the companies which agreed the stream the film despite threats of a 9/11-style attack by the original hackers.

But security experts downplayed the chance of a link between the new hack and the last one. "I don't see any kind of connection to the original hack," Hemu Nigan, an SSP Cyber Security consultant, told NBC's Nightly News. "Remember, they didn't actually steal anything, no data. All they did was turn the lights off."



— Tony Dokoupil, with Reuters