The hacker group which allegedly took down the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on the Christmas Eve is now after the Tor encryption service. Also Read - Sony PS5 to be restocked on July 26 in India
The Lizard Mafia said on Twitter last night that it had initiated a relay attack on Tor, a service that lets you go anonymous on the internet. The relay attack has been orchestrated to affect the Tor network to the point where it can compromise anonymity. Also Read - PlayStation 5 going on a diet? Retailer leaks lightweight PS5 in works
To clarify, we are no longer attacking PSN or Xbox. We are testing our new Tor 0day. Also Read - Xbox Series X/S could get PlayStation 5 inspired controller upgrade in future
— Lizard Squad (@LizardMafia) December 26, 2014
Nadim Kobeissi, developer of encrypted chat client Cryptocat posted metrics to show “LizardNSA” relays taking a significant part of the network. According to his estimates, the hacker group had clogged 3,000 to 6,000 of all the relays — the routers through which users’ data passes so that it become untraceable. While that may seem like a very large proportion, the level of security sophistication utilized by Tor has thus far managed to safeguard its network from the attack.
This is what the Tor network looks like right now. pic.twitter.com/0QQAGVTRRI
— Nadim Kobeissi (@kaepora) December 26, 2014
“The attack won’t be effective unless Lizard Squad’s relays obtain enough consensus with the rest of the network, which is currently not happening due to the newness of the relays and their low bandwidth allowance,” says Kobeissi. Last year Tor announced that it had set up a new system wherein the new relay won’t be provided with much bandwidth (about 20KBps at max).
Adding weight to that assurance is company’s own statement to The Verge in which it finds Lizard’s attack “a regular attempt at a Sybil attack.” “This looks like a regular attempt at a Sybil attack: the attackers have signed up many new relays in hopes of becoming a large fraction of the network. But even though they are running thousands of new relays, their relays currently make up less than 1 percent of the Tor network by capacity,” a spokesperson said. “We are working now to remove these relays from the network before they become a threat, and we don’t expect any anonymity or performance effects based on what we’ve seen so far.”
Lizard Squad annoys Anonymous
The international activist group Anonymous, which has a very long history of hacking and cyber attacking governments and corporation often with “public motives” has told the Lizard Squad to “stand down” and stop attacking the Tor network. It said, “We don’t give a f–k about corporate bulls–t networks, we do care about 3rd world communications.”
The Tor network is one of the most sophisticated encrypted communication service available. It has been used by whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, as well as by journalists and military groups from the war field.
Lizard Squad tells why it attacks these services
In a recent interview with WinBeta, the Lizard Squad said that their intention with all these attacks is to force the companies to upgrade their security as a result. The group also said that they could “take down NASDAQ” and slump down the economy, but that isn’t their goal. The group further noted that they will continue to attack more services until “companies learned from their security issues.”