PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad

Makers of both games said they were trying to tackle the problem

Christmas was far from perfect for thousands of people who woke up with new Xbox Live and PlayStation games, only to discover the networks had been hacked.

Reports said untold thousands of people were prevented from accessing the networks after a hack by a group, or individual, which called itself the Lizard Squad.

NBC News reported that the 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 into Christmas Day, apparently angering many would-be users.

On Thursday afternoon, the makers of both games acknowledged on social media that they were facing problems.

“We’re aware that some users are having issues logging into PSN - engineers are investigating,” said a tweet from PlayStation.

NBC said that the Lizard Squad claimed responsibility, saying on Twitter that it toppled both networks with so-called distributed denial of service attacks. The tactic involves overwhelming Sony and Microsoft’s servers with unexpected user traffic.

“Jingle bells jingle bells xbox got ran,” the group wrote on Twitter Thursday, adding a similar line about Sony. “oh my fun it is to troll of you morons ... hey!”

PlayStation is owned by Sony, the same company that released The Interview on Thursday. The movie, about a fictional attempt to kill North Korean Leader Kim Jong un, sparked controversy after hackers, allegedly with ties to North Korea, broke into the company's servers and released a trove of information.

Xbox is owned by Microsoft, one of the companies which agreed to stream the film despite threats of a 9/11-style attack by the original hackers. Experts said there was evidence that the two hacks were related.

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