Xbox Live is online again after suffering an outage today, with a hacker group claiming to have DDoSed its servers.

Their alleged antics left many in the United States and Canadaunable to connect to the service at all, while others reported that only their friends lists were affected.

Thankfully, it appears the service is now back up, with the Xbox Live status page reporting no problems.

The group Lizard Squad took ‘credit’ for the outage on Twitter, and is threatening to do it again over Christmas, because some people are just like that. The group also claimed to be behind PSN’s issues back in August.


The Toronto Police Service website went down on Sunday evening after a Twitter user threatened to hack it.

According to police, the site was the subject of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

Twitter user @AerithTOR claimed responsibility for the attack on the social networking site.

A DDoS attack floods a website with several requests and if the website’s server cannot handle the volume of requests, the website crashes.

@AerithTOR also suggested that they would be targeting the Conservative Party of Canada and Parliament of Canada websites. Both sites were online Sunday night.

The Ottawa Police Service and Supreme Court of Canada websites went down on Saturday evening. The Ottawa police website was still down as of Sunday night.

The City of Ottawa website was hacked Friday evening and replaced with a black screen and a dancing banana, along with a message attributed to @AerithXOR. @AerithTOR claimed this was his former account and said it had been suspended.

The message the hacker left on Ottawa’s police website contained the name of an area police officer. The officer was involved with the investigation of an Ottawa teen who is alleged to have made calls reporting fake emergencies to emergency services agencies across North America.

Toronto police were unavailable for further comment. The Toronto Police Services website remained offline on Sunday night.


Cyber attacks targeting Turkey are far more numerous than the global average, according to data provided by American cyber security company Arbor Networks.

While in the second quarter of 2014 the global frequency of cyber attacks dropped by 68 percent, in the same period attacks directed at Turkey recorded an increase of 6 percent. The countries from which Turkey received the most attacks in the second quarter were Russia, the US and Switzerland.

Eric Michonnet, European director of Arbor Networks, which provides network security services to 90 percent of the world’s service providers, noted that Turkey’s average attack frequency was much higher than the global average. Explaining that cyber attacks are generally organized against financial institutions and Internet sales sites, Michonnet said the aim of the attacks is to inflict economic harm on the institution against which the attacks are organized.

Stating that Arbor Networks’ goal is to protect Internet service providers’ security, Michonnet said: “With the special systems we’ve placed in service providers, we’re preventing attacks on Turkey from several countries of the world before another attack affects Turkey.”

Michonnet explained that a cyber attack uses thousands of computers to enter a target website, congest it and block access to the site. He also noted that in the first half of 2014 the average size of a cyber attack was 3.39 gigabytes and the largest-capacity cyber attack had a base of 124 gigabytes.

Arbor Turkey Director Serhat Atlı commented that in recent years cyber attacks have particularly targeted Internet sales sites. Explaining that thousands of Internet users shop on these sites every day and that these attacks cause great economic damage, Atlı noted that some of these Internet sites have taken their own measures to prevent these attacks. He also stated that companies can arrange for cyber attacks to be carried out against their rivals.

In the first half of the year, the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) type of attacks were perpetrated from Malaysia, Switzerland and Russia. In the second half of the year, the largest attack came from Russia, followed by the US and Switzerland.

A DDoS attack is used to harvest bank details, the aim being to cause surprise and to camouflage the real attack, as data theft can be carried out after the system has been penetrated. One way of performing a DDoS attack is through a botnet, which can contain over 100,000 bots. Bots are chosen because they are practically impossible to follow and locate, are cheap and can be easily removed from the system following the attack.


Update 5:50 a.m. PST:

The servers are now down for maintenance, and the attack is over. If further ones happen, we’ll announce accordingly.

Update 8:15 p.m. PST

The DDoS attacks continue. Blizzard is rolling out updates to the backend services at a breakneck pace right now, some of which are having unintended consequences and further complicating an already messy situation. However, it should be noted that this is to be expected when combating such a large scale attack. In no way is Blizzard responsible for the server outages on this scale — responsibility rests with the script kiddies and bot net controllers.

It’s hard to know just how big this attack is, but with the sustained issues it’s causing, and the severity of response from Blizzard, it’s safe to assume that it’s big. is a hardened internet service that has withstood onslaughts like this before. For it to fail at such a critical juncture is nothing but catastrophic for the short term, and could have serious long term implications. We have some idea, shown above, of just how global this attack is.

We’ll update this post as the night continues, providing you with the latest. In the mean time — we recommend you catch up on your lore, and not concern yourself with logging in.

Original Post:

WoW Insider received reports earlier today that Blizzard may be the target of a significant DDoS effort — and community manager Bashiok has confirmed it on the World of Warcraftforums.

Bashiok goes on to outline additional issues Blizzard is currently attempting to resolve: instance servers timing out, disconnects from the continent servers, and performance and phasing issues with garrisons.


The average distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack costs a business roughly $40,000 per hour, according to an Incapsula survey. Since 49 percent of incidents last between six and 24 hours – 86 percent of respondents reported that an average attack lasts 24 hours or less – the average cost associated with a DDoS attack is assessed in the survey at approximately $500,000.

To learn how DDoS attacks impact businesses, Incapsula surveyed 270 North American organizations – 80 percent of which are headquartered in the U.S. – that have anywhere from 250 to 10,000 employees.

Igal Zeifman, product evangelist and researcher at Incapsula, told in a Thursday email correspondence that companies stand to lose some or all of their revenue per hour when hit by a DDoS attack. As an example, Zeifman noted that $1 billion in annual revenue amounts to $114,155 per hour, so “every hour a large business operates is worth a lot of money.” And the cost of DDoS attacks goes beyond lost revenue. Organizations that are victims of DDoS attacks incur costs from loss of customers, brand damage, legal fees, and wasted staff time, he added.

In the survey, 52 percent of respondents said they had to replace hardware or software, 50 percent had a virus or malware installed or activated on their network, 43 percent experienced loss of consumer trust, 33 percent acknowledged customer data theft, and 19 percent suffered intellectual property loss – 60 percent reported having two or more of these consequences.

Within the company, 35 percent of those surveyed indicated that IT takes the largest financial hit, but 23 percent named sales, 22 percent named security and risk management, and 12 percent named customer services.

“Sales is hit with responding to angry customers who may leave, or threaten to leave, the business they had contracts with, for example a SaaS vendor or hosting provider with a service level agreement,” Zeifman said. “Sales may also miss its number, for example an online retailer knocked offline on Cyber Monday.”

Additionally, five percent named marketing and public relations, and two percent named legal.

“Marketing often has to communicate with customers and repair their reputation with customers and the market,” Zeifman said. “Legal is involved in negotiations over SLA violation, potential lawsuits, and potentially with regulatory filings in the financial services industry.”

Incapsula indicates in the survey that organizations should be able to respond to DDoS attacks with as few employees as possible.

When asked how many employees in the organization are tasked with mitigating or combating a DDoS attack, 27 percent of respondents said more than 15 staffers, 69 percent said between two and 15 people, and no one said just a single individual. Furthermore, while 43 percent of respondents said their company uses a purpose-built DDoS protection solution, more than half stated that their firm relies on web application firewalls or traditional network firewalls that are vulnerable on their own.

“In general, organizations do not do a good job when it comes to crisis planning,” Zeifman said. “There are often business priorities that take precedence, though the lack of planning may come back to bite them. Just like organizations should have plans to recover from data breaches, they should have plans to recover from DDoS attacks.”

Stepping back from cost analysis, Incapsula sought to determine the motivations behind DDoS attacks.

In the survey, 46 percent of respondents indicated that they had received a ransom note from a DDoS attacker, and 45 percent said they had not. 40 percent of those surveyed said they believe the attacker was attempting to flood the company’s network infrastructure to block all connections to its domain, 20 percent believe the attacker was targeting specific applications to block the company’s use, and 33 percent believe both were motivations.

Extortion for profit is one of the primary drivers of DDoS attacks, Zeifman said.

“Extortionist hackers rent botnets for a relatively small amount of money, say $500, and then threaten DDoS attacks on ten to twenty sites, betting that some will pay up,” Zeifman said. “It is effectively DDoS arbitrage.”

Zeifman added that hacktivism and competitive business feuds are other big motivations.

“Hacktivists try to draw attention to their cause or the faults of the organization they are attacking,” Zeifman said. “Their aim is publicity, but the business and its customers suffer. Competitive business feuds are more common in certain competitive and loosely regulated industries like online gambling, multiplayer online games, and bitcoin exchanges. Competitors try and take out a competitor to drive business to their game site, gambling site or exchange.”