It's Christmas - Yay!.... wait.
And in all the last minute panic buying we're all doing, its pretty easy to forget that last year Microsoft's mighty xbox live service went down. alot.
It was all due to a group called Lizard Squad. An annonymous hacker group that took aim at both Microsoft and Playstations authentication servers to bring alot of service disruption to the gaming platforms and upset to millions. For the lulz apparently.
And one year on, the service is down again (at the time of writing - 5:13 EST 12/17/2015).
(Live stream of operators working within XBox Live's main control).
Now we aren't suggesting that the outage is an attack or that history is repeating itself. but it does look suspiciously similar.
This is currently whats being reported on xbox.com/service-status
Both important areas of Xbox Live, and the second option doesn't go down particularly often as far as im aware (could be wrong here), but they do both seem like prime targets for this sort of activity.
Also why would Microsoft be running routine maintainance around this time of the year (lots of xbox's being bought, lots of content being purchased).
But i'm not here to speculate, just report that its offline.
Recent threats made -
CNN did release a report today saying that a new group 'Phantom squad' had made threats to Microsoft and Sony that they would take their respective platforms offline this christmas. Whether its credible or related is unknown, but CNN did take it seriously enough to report on it here - http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/17/technology/phantom-squad-playstation-xbox/index.html roughly 3 hours ago (from the time of writing this). I should note that no hacker group has made any sort of credit to the outage, but it is ofcourse early days.
What if its just a glitch/ error? -
it would be an unfortunate chain of events.
What if it is an attack?
It would be an unfortunate chain of events, particularly as they had a year to learn and defend against this sort of attack in the future.
To finish off -
We won't know what exactly has happened till we get a statement (RFE - reason for outage) from Microsoft, assuming the report is transparent it should give at last some insight to whats happened. Even if it is some sort of error on their behalf (bad patch, hardware failure.etc), be ready to hear about various groups taking responsibility/credit anyway.
Ofcourse the real victims here are us, the gamers. We spend our hard earned cash on these games, monthly subscription fees and addons and in return expect a quality service and platform to drive these on. For the most part, Playstation and Steam do a great job here (ignoring the PSN hacking incident a few years back). Xbox Live ofcourse is one of the largest gaming communities out there and by being backed by the resources of Microsoft its a little dissapointing to see the service also be the one branded more unreliable than the others.
We hope the problem (whatever it is), gets resolved soon, and we dont get a repeat of last years online gaming woes.
Our plea to Microsoft -