The waves made by the hack on Sony Pictures hadn’t time to calm before another major attack occurred, this time directed at the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network gaming services. Over the holidays a notorious group known as “Lizard Squad” claimed credit for a mass distributed denial of service attack on each. Their goal, apparently, was only to knock each service offline on the days millions would be opening new consoles and attempting to set them up.
They achieved their aim, but it appears the group’s anonymous infamy may be at an end. Well-known computer security journalist Brian Krebs published a blog post earlier today that traces the group’s origins back to 22-year-old Vinnie Omari of the United Kingdom and 16-year-old Julius Kivimäki of Finland.
Krebs’ didn’t have to use sophisticated techniques to find the pair. Instead, he relied on old-fashioned detective work, connecting the dots with several pieces of evidence including online posts and an interview Lizard Squad granted to BBC Radio. While the two members in the interview did not identify themselves their voices were clearly audible. Krebs linked the voice of Mr. Omari to a separate on-camera interview in which he presented himself not as a member of Lizard Squad but instead a “computer security analyst.”
Though certain in the validity of his research, Krebs does post a disclaimer; it’s possible the pair aren’t Lizard Squad at all but instead wannabes claiming credit for things they weren’t involved in. This seems unlikely because Krebs links Mr. Omari to posts in which he attempts to sell vouchers for Kim Dotcom’s MegaUpload service (Dotcom stopped the attacks on PSN and Xbox Live by bribing Lizard Squad with 3,000 of these vouchers, which sell at $99 each). It’d take a particularly committed con artist to so proactively leave such a false trail, but it’s not impossible to imagine.
What happens next is hard to say. Krebs’ evidence probably isn’t enough to issue arrests, but it may help law enforcement narrow their list of suspects. That, in fact, appears to be Kreb’s goal, as he hopes that “with any luck” Lizard Squad will, like LulzSec before it, be brought to justice.
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