Earlier this week, authorities apprehended two alleged members of Lizard Squad, the group claiming responsibility for bringing down Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on Christmas day. Vinnie Omari and Julius “Ryan” Kivimaki have both been arrested for various crimes. Omari is suspected of accounts of fraud and theft from Paypal accounts. Kivimaki, on the other hand, is held for alleged involvement with the attacks on Christmas day.
For those who want a TL:DR of the events, take a look at the timeline below:
- Dec. 25 – Lizard Squad attacks, anonymously bringing down Xbox Live and PSN via DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service). Dick move. Kim Dotcom gives Lizard Squad $150,000 of internet services to stop the attack. Not a dick move.
- Dec. 26 – Lizard Squad comes forward to claim responsibility for the attacks, stating in an interview that their purpose was to raise awareness for poor internet security systems and to perhaps make a few kids spend Christmas with families rather than consoles.
- Dec. 27 – Lizard Squad then comes forward offering DDoS services for sale, framing their attacks as a sort of marketing campaign.
Now, this turn of events is deeply unsettling because initially the attack on Microsoft and Sony services were accredited to a less disturbing motive: trying to highlight the fragile security of these systems. Perhaps the well-meaning sentiment was understandable. Since then, it has come to light that it was all a publicity stunt to help sell their DDoS services. Now their actions just look downright criminal (not that they were lawful to begin with).
The most concerning factor here is that the Lizard Squad cause seems to have spiraled downhill rather fast. Initially the group seemed to distance themselves from hurting innocent individuals, choosing to target large scale corporations. But now, the arrest of two alleged members for criminal thefts casts a poor light on the group as a whole. Whilst we do not know whose Paypal accounts were compromised by the actions of Omari, the group hurt by actions of the suspected Squad members is indeed the public.
Most online attacks have an element of humor or a sense vigilante justice, but recent Lizard Squad activities seem devoid of such reasonings. Lately, their motive is projected as purely monetary, an alarming case. Many other hack events typically stem from a ‘for the lulz’ type of thinking, and come off as less malicious. Some even provide attention to real world issues.
Whatever the case may be, Uncle Ben was right, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” They may not have the arachnid powers of Spider-Man, but the Lizard Squad is definitely capable of good if they choose such a route, especially considering the current situation with laws and censorship of the internet world-wide. Wouldn’t it be the ideal time to show the best the internet has to offer? Perhaps we could see this kind of ending for the Lizard Squad and their superpower story.