Lizard Squad may value hacking for more than just the fame.
On December 25th, the group of hackers launched a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, subsequently causing network issues for both platforms that lasted several days.
Lizard Squad has been attracting attention for their attacks since August when the group caused server outages for League of Legends and Runescape, two popular online games.
At around the same time, the hackers infiltrated Sony and soon thereafter tweeted that explosives were aboard an American Airlines flight on which Sony Entertainment President John Smedley was flying. It is their prior involvement with the entertainment company that has some security firms wondering whether Lizard Squad might have helped the Guardians of Peace in their recent hack against Sony.
These and other attacks notwithstanding, some prominent researchers do not consider Lizard Squad a serious threat. Among them is Brian Krebs, who in an article on his blog describes the group as “misguided individuals [who] launched the attack for no other reason than because they thought it would be amusing to annoy and disappoint people.”
Krebs even went so far as to condemn certain media profiles that have portrayed the group and their attacks as “sophisticated” and “herculean.”
However, recent actions suggest that the group may be more strategic in their actions than their statements have let on. Mikko Hypponen, CRO at F-Secure, has revealed in a Tweet that the group recently set up a new website that offers customers different DDoS attack packages for purchase. As one commentator on Twitter put it, perhaps this means Lizard Squad used its Christmas DDoS attacks to market its services to cybercrime communities.
If it succeeds in attracting clients to its services, the group will undoubtedly become a more significant cyber threat actor. However, Lizard Squad may have alienated some of its potential client base when it went after Tor, an anonymizing service which many cyber criminals use to conceal their identities.
The group has also made a number of enemies who have incentive to prevent it from marketing itself, including The Finest Squad, a rival group of hackers who launched their own attacks against Lizard Squad for its Christmas antics, as well as Anonymous.
Where Lizard Squad goes from here remains to be seen. What is certain is that the information security community will be watching the group carefully from now on.