By Ben brumfield
(CNN) – Sony PlayStation Networks is out of service; Xbox is mostly still working, but with some limited features, its service websites said Friday.
The buzz in the online gaming world is that they could be back in no time, after a flagship gamer claimed to have stepped in to end an alleged hack that affected them.
Gamers eager to take on their opponents online on Xbox and Play Station threw down their consoles on Christmas – one of the busiest gaming days of the year – as two groups of hackers allegedly attacked game systems and discussed it on Twitter.
One, the Lizard Squad, said it struggled to torpedo the nets. The other, The Finest, said it was working to get the system back by exposing the attackers to the police.
The groups posted messages on Twitter. Neither had a verified account and CNN could not confirm their identity or their claims.
Head to head game
A Twitter account under the name Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for spoiling the holiday fun.
He said he had “slapped” the two systems, apparently one of several attacks in December. The group claimed responsibility for keeping systems down earlier this month on various occasions.
On Thursday, the group asked for retweets in exchange for ending the issue, but then things got personal against another group, The Finest.
“Operations will continue tomorrow. As a result, the group of kids who think they are ‘the best’ will be proven incapable,” the Lizard Squad said in a tweet.
The alleged hack could have been a denial of service attack.
That’s when hackers flooded the networks with illegitimate traffic, overwhelming the capacity of the servers. Players were able to play online, but were unable to communicate with other players or make use of network features.
Hundreds of users reported on Twitter the problems with the systems that lasted much of the day.
“With the #Xbox hack I am seeing the debacle of my 15 year old nephew: ‘I have nothing else to do !!!!'” Jim Crilley Jr. wrote on Twitter.
Then, in the early hours of Friday, gaming demigod Kim Dotcom, with nearly 400,000 Twitter followers, let out a celebratory shout on his account.
“I’m online playing #Destiny on XboxOne now. The Lizard Squad must have stopped the attack.” A few messages earlier, he had suggested to the hacker group to restore the system in exchange for vouchers.
One account returned the message saying that they would take his offer and stop the attack. Part of the agreement implies that the Lizard Squad would not attack the PSN or Xbox networks ever again.
On Thursday night the group claimed to have stopped the attack and that the continuous cuts were due to its aftermath.
Kim Dotcom sent a message to users to check the progress.
He asked users who could access the game networks to retweet, and bookmark them if they couldn’t.
The Finest, an anti-hacker security group thanked Kim Dotcom for striking the deal, but continued to pursue the Lizard Squad.
They tracked down the IP addresses of the suspected hackers and posted them on Twitter to the police and asked users to retweet them.
A handful of suspected Lizard Squad hackers showed up across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, according to The Finest site. They called them juvenile pranksters.
They threatened to continue seeking his punishment through the legal system in a statement.
“For our part, we would like to offer our apologies to those who had to experience the misfortune of being bullied by these children. Criminals never win,” according to the statement. “FinestSquad will always find a way to finish you off and take legal action.”
The Lizard Squad said on his Twitter account that he was leaving “for now” just before midnight.
The Finest took credit after the Lizard Squad left the scene.
The Lizard Squad said none of its members had been detained.
The network downtime began just hours after the Xbox video store began streaming Seth Rogen’s comedy The Interview. The film was made by Sony Pictures, a brother of Sony’s PlayStation division.
Sony was the victim of a massive cyberattack in late November that is believed to have been motivated, at least in part, by North Korean anger over the tape depicting the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un.
But there was no indication that Thursday’s problems were in any way related to the film’s digital release. Other participating distributors of the film, such as YouTube, were not affected. PlayStation did not participate in the exhibition.