Lizard Squad: Kim Dotcom Plays Christmas Hero After Gaming Attacks

How an eccentric Internet magnate may yet save Christmas season for gamers.

ByALYSSA NEWCOMB
December 26, 2014, 12:26 PM

— -- Call it a belated Christmas season miracle.

This is a story of an eccentric Internet entrepreneur who singlehandedly may have managed to save gamers around the world -- and the Christmas season -- from a hacking collective known as Lizard Squad.

Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network both suffered outages Christmas Day that extended into today, frustrating gamers who were unable to enjoy their consoles for the holiday.

PHOTO: An online group known as Lizard Squad claims responsibility for the Christmas Play Station and XBox hacks.
An online group known as Lizard Squad claims responsibility for the Christmas Play Station and XBox hacks.
@LizardMafia/Twitter

It seems all it took for Lizard Squad to call off the attacks the group said it perpetrated on the gaming networks was a little diplomacy from MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, according to Dotcom and Lizard Squad tweets.

The multimillionaire, who is based in New Zealand, is embattled in his own legal woes. He is expected to find out early next year whether he'll be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on charges related to piracy, copyright infringement and racketeering.

(Dotcom, who changed his name from Kim Schmitz, has said he is not guilty.)

Under the deal Lizard Squad said it reached with Dotcom, the group received 3,000 premium MegaPrivacy vouchers from Dotcom's company, which allows it end-to-end encryption and secure storage services.

PHOTO: Kim Dotcom speaks to the media following his bail hearing at Auckland District Court in Auckland, New Zealand, on Dec. 1, 2014.
Kim Dotcom speaks to the media following his bail hearing at Auckland District Court in Auckland, New Zealand, on Dec. 1, 2014.
Getty Images

While it appeared both networks were still dark this morning, Lizard Squad tweeted it had stopped its "distributed denial of service" attacks and said the current downtime is "just the aftermath."

Neither Microsoft nor Sony blamed the problem on hackers. Both companies said they were investigating the problems.

Cole Stryker, who explored the hacking culture in his book "Hacking the Future: Privacy, Identity, and Anonymity on the Web," said Lizard Squad's style of hacking seems very similar to the "early days of LulzSec," a former hacking group.

"Very trollish, prankstery," Stryker told ABC News earlier this year. "I don't believe this person genuinely wants to be involved in geopolitics. I think this person is just having a laugh."

Still, the DDoS (distributed denial of service attacks) for which Lizard Squad has claimed credit has caused plenty of inconveniences.

Earlier this month, the group said it hacked Sony's PlayStation Store.

Lizard Squad previously claimed responsibility for cyberattacks that briefly knocked the Vatican's website, Battle.net and League of Legends offline.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events