PlayStation, Xbox users forced offline in possible attack – CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Some Xbox users finally able to log on to network
  • NEW: Incident and a hack of Sony Pictures don’t appear to be related
  • Lizard Squad hacker group has claimed responsibility for prior attacks
  • One Twitter user bemoans issue, stuck with cranky teenager

(CNN) — Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming networks experienced widespread problems on Christmas Day as a hacker group claimed responsibility for what it said was an attack.

Hundreds of users took to Twitter to report problems with the systems, which lasted much of the day.

“With the #Xbox hacking shutdown going on I’m watching my 15 year old nephew meltdown: ‘I’ve got nothing else to do!!!!'” Jim Crilley Jr. wrote on the social messaging site.

The problem persisted for hours, but Thursday night Xbox Live briefly posted a message on its support website saying: “Were you having a hard time signing in to Xbox Live? If so, we’re glad to say we’ve reached a solution! You can once again sign in without any issues. Thanks for hanging in there while we worked. We appreciate it!”

But many PlayStation users were still having difficulty logging on to their network.

The 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 comes in the gray color of the original PlayStation and bears other imagery harking back to the history of the console. Only 12,300 will be released globally, a nod to 12/3, or December 3, the date the console was released in Japan in 1994. Here's a look at the console through the years.The 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 comes in the gray color of the original PlayStation and bears other imagery harking back to the history of the console. Only 12,300 will be released globally, a nod to 12/3, or December 3, the date the console was released in Japan in 1994. Here’s a look at the console through the years.
The original PlayStation was a 32-bit console released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and in North America and elsewhere in September of the following year. It sold for $299 and became the first gaming console to ship more than 10 million units over the next decade.The original PlayStation was a 32-bit console released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and in North America and elsewhere in September of the following year. It sold for $299 and became the first gaming console to ship more than 10 million units over the next decade.
Pop superstar Michael Jackson plays Sony's then-new PlayStation in May 1995 as Sony Corp of America CEO Michael Schulhof, left, and Phil Harrison of Sony Computer Entertainment-Europe look on. This photo was taken at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.Pop superstar Michael Jackson plays Sony’s then-new PlayStation in May 1995 as Sony Corp of America CEO Michael Schulhof, left, and Phil Harrison of Sony Computer Entertainment-Europe look on. This photo was taken at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.
The PlayStation's sequel, the PlayStation 2, wasn't released until 2000. It upgraded to a 128-bit The PlayStation’s sequel, the PlayStation 2, wasn’t released until 2000. It upgraded to a 128-bit “Emotion Engine” CPU and added support for CD-ROMs. It would go on to sell more than 155 million units and run more than 3,870 game titles.
Sony PlayStation fans wait in line to purchase the new Sony PlayStation 2 on October 25, 2000 at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco, California. Crowds began waiting at 6:30 a.m. for the $299 game console which went on sale at midnight. PlayStation 2 remains the top-selling video-game console of all time.Sony PlayStation fans wait in line to purchase the new Sony PlayStation 2 on October 25, 2000 at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco, California. Crowds began waiting at 6:30 a.m. for the $299 game console which went on sale at midnight. PlayStation 2 remains the top-selling video-game console of all time.
The PlayStation 3 was released in November 2006. It was the first console to use Blu-Ray disc storage and utilized the online PlayStation Network. Such was the excitement for the new console that there were reports of fans fighting for spaces in line in advance of its release.The PlayStation 3 was released in November 2006. It was the first console to use Blu-Ray disc storage and utilized the online PlayStation Network. Such was the excitement for the new console that there were reports of fans fighting for spaces in line in advance of its release.
Gaming fans play PlayStation 3's Hitman Absolution at the E3 videogame extravaganza in Los Angeles on June7, 2012. Some 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, retailers and journalists from over a hundered countries attended the expo.Gaming fans play PlayStation 3’s Hitman Absolution at the E3 videogame extravaganza in Los Angeles on June7, 2012. Some 45,700 video game industry professionals, investor analysts, retailers and journalists from over a hundered countries attended the expo.
The PlayStation 3 was first announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2005, and was released in late 2006. It was originally available with 20 and 60 GB hard drives, but later, gamers could buy up to 500 GB of storage for the machinesThe PlayStation 3 was first announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2005, and was released in late 2006. It was originally available with 20 and 60 GB hard drives, but later, gamers could buy up to 500 GB of storage for the machines
The PS4 heralded the console world's move into multi-media, offering a Blu-ray player as well as the ability to stream Web video from apps like Netflix. Launched in November 2013, its computing power and graphics were significantly advanced from previous models.The PS4 heralded the console world’s move into multi-media, offering a Blu-ray player as well as the ability to stream Web video from apps like Netflix. Launched in November 2013, its computing power and graphics were significantly advanced from previous models.
Joey Chiu, 24, of Brooklyn, left, buys the first PlayStation 4 sold in North America at a launch event presented by Sony Entertainment Network on November 14 in New York City.Joey Chiu, 24, of Brooklyn, left, buys the first PlayStation 4 sold in North America at a launch event presented by Sony Entertainment Network on November 14 in New York City.
So-called next generation consoles like the PS4 have pushed new boundaries with their graphics capabilities. When So-called next generation consoles like the PS4 have pushed new boundaries with their graphics capabilities. When “Dark Sorcerer,” a comedic demo, was shown on a PlayStation 4 last year, some at a Sony event weren’t sure whether they were seeing animation or live actors.
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
Happy 20th birthday, Playstation
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
PlayStation through the years
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Happy 20th birthday, PlayStationHappy 20th birthday, PlayStation

Gamers were able to play games offline, but couldn’t communicate with other players or make use of network functions.

The hacker group Lizard Squad said earlier it was “smacking” the two systems, apparently one of several attacks in December. The group took responsibility for keeping each network down earlier this month on separate occasions.

On Thursday, the group asked for retweets in exchange for ending the problem, which could be a distributed denial of service attack.

That’s when hackers flood networks with illegitimate traffic, overwhelming the ability of the servers.

The problem might be exacerbated by video gamers who received new systems for Christmas and were adding to the potential traffic on one of the busiest gaming days of the year.

The network downtime started just hours after Microsoft’s Xbox video store started to stream the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.” The movie was made by Sony Pictures, a sibling of Sony’s PlayStation division.

Sony was the victim of a massive cyberattack in late November that was widely believed to be motivated, at least in part, by North Korea’s anger over “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of Kim Jong Un.

But there was no indication that Thursday’s problems were in any way connected to the movie’s digital release. Other participating distributors of the movie, such as YouTube, were unaffected. And PlayStation is not participating in the release.

A Sony Pictures spokesman deferred to PlayStation for comment about the outage.

CNN’s Brian Stelter contributed to this report.

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