Lizard Squad: Who Is the Group Claiming Responsibility for High Profile Hacks?

Group claims responsibility for grounding exec's plane, high profile hacks.

ByABC News
August 26, 2014, 1:38 PM
The hacker group Lizard Squad is apparently responsible for several recent high profile hacks.
The hacker group Lizard Squad is apparently responsible for several recent high profile hacks.

— -- Catch them if you can.

The mysterious hacker of hacking collective known as "Lizard Squad" has taken responsibility for a number of cyber-attacks that have briefly knocked high-profile sites offline.

Lizard Squad is vocal, taunting and a bit obnoxious on Twitter, where it has taken credit for taking down a number of high-profile targets, including the Vatican's website, Sony's PlayStation network, and League of Legends.

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While all the reported hacks cannot be confirmed by ABC News, the group also tweeted that explosives were on board an American Airlines flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley, prompting an emergency landing in Phoenix.

Lizard Squad has a penchant for taunting its targets and has even invoked ISIS in some of its tweets -- making outsiders even more confused about the identity of the hackers.

Cole Stryker, who explored 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 said. "I don’t believe this person genuinely wants to be involved in geopolitics. I think this person is just having a laugh."

Even still, the DDoS (distributed denial of service attacks) that Lizard Squad has taken credit for have caused plenty of inconveniences.

Stryker said DDoS attacks usually work one of two ways.

"It can be a bunch of people getting on their computers and bombarding a website with dummy traffic in order to overload the servers or it could be a single actor who has access to a botnet, which is a network of compromised computers that have been taken over for the person conducting the attack," Stryker said.

"If it is one person, it is someone who has a wide network of computers under his control and the owners might not realize their machines are being compromised," he said.

Sony, which was impacted by both the PlayStation hack and the diversion of Smedley's plane, told Game Zone in a statement that the FBI is handling the case.

Stryker said the chances are "pretty high" that authorities will track down the person or people behind Lizard Squad.

"I think if you look at history, you will see a lot of the loudest and most obnoxious members of Anonymous and LulzSec are all in jail or awaiting a hearing," he said. "It’s not a matter of if, it's a matter of when."