Since late last night, it looks like a bunch of hackers have been attacking the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live online gaming services. Merry Christmas 2014, everyone!
The PSN status page is currently listing its services as online, although the official Twitter support page acknowledges that some users "may be having issues logging in". The Xbox Live page, on the other hand, says that the logon service is currently unavailable. Or, in simpler terms, if you want to use the internet capabilities of your Xbox right now, you're shit out of luck. https://twitter.com/hashtag/Xbox?src=hash
The 'Lizard Squad' hacking group is currently taking responsibility, claiming that they downed both services, and won't stop until they get 10,000 retweets on one of their inane ramblings. The stated method of hacking is Old Faithful — a Distributed Denial of Service, which involves flooding a network (or, normally, some piece of critical infrastructure) with more traffic than it can handle. In this case, it looks like the logon systems are the weak point, since both PSN and Xbox Live are reporting that users are having trouble signing in.
Lizard Squad's credibility is enhanced by the fact that they have been teasing their plans to bring down PSN and Xbox Live since early December. They're also the same group that used a bomb scare to divert a plane carrying Sony Online's president back in August.
Whether they're actually responsible for the attack, or if it's just a spotty teenager claiming responsibility is a little hard to work out. Either way, both Sony and Microsoft have just said that they're "working hard" to fix the problems, and normal gaming service should be resumed soon.