This is not the first time that Sony has been brought down by a DDoS attack nor is Sony the first company to be hit by one. The DDoS attack has been a regular tool to show displeasure with a company or service. Over the past few years the number and sophistication of DDoS attacks has risen. We have even watched the FBI get hit with one (as well as a DNS hack that routed people to a server in the UK).
One of the largest hit the internet last year and was pumping a massive 20Gbps at the target. This type of attack has been made possible through two major methods. The first is the rise of the botnet and the availability of services that sell access to these massive distributed computing engines. For a fee someone can have access to the compute and network power of millions of systems around the world. The second is through groups like Anonymous and the people that follow them.
The lizard squad seems to be more in line with a collective like Anonymous which means that many of the nodes in the attack could belong to members of the group or people wanting to support them. It is unlikely that the lizard quads has gone out and paid money to access a botnet to bring Sony down.
According to Marc Gaffan, Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer at Incapsula, (a company that provides DDoS mitigation and other services) “DDoS attacks have become the weapon of choice for the modern hacker. Our own research supports this, finding that DDoS attacks just like the one that recently hit the Playstation Network are up 240% in 2014. Attacks like this will continue to plague big name companies, thanks to the greater availability of resources for hackers. Persistent DDoS attacks can sometimes last for weeks and in a time when anyone can Google up a 'botnet for hire' and use it to execute a 20-40Gbps attack, from several thousands sources, organizations across the world need to re-evaluate their DDoS protection, or risk the consequences”
Although both the PSN and the SEN are back online, this attack could just be the beginning of trouble for Sony depending on the lizard squad’s goals and how quickly Sony can employ DDoS mitigation to counter the next attack.
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