Outages on both Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PSN online gaming services proved to be a real pain to players, not to mention an embarrassing thorn in the side of the two companies. Whilst the hackers are still at large, the people over at Microsoft and Sony have both decided to put their heads together to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
both services were brought low using the classic distributed denial of service method – DDOS. In this type of cyber attack, the connection to a certain domain on the internet is stressed by massive co-ordinated connection attempts, which the network can’t handle. This is what happened over Christmas to Xbox live and the PSN.
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Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed that talks were underway with Sony on the problem, apparently the impact on customers for the two console manufactures, who have been competing on the market since 2001, is enough to bring them together to work out a way to fix the issue.
‘I don’t think it’s great when PSN goes down,’
‘It doesn’t help me. All it does is put the fear and distrust from any gamer that’s out there, so I look at all of us together as this is our collective opportunity to share what we can about what we’re learning and how things are growing. Those conversations happen, which I think is great.’
-Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox
The talks haven’t been officially detailed by either side, so at this point it’s not clear what kind of systems or new ideas are being passed between the two companies. Admittedly, Sony are not the greatest when it comes to security – there’s definitely been a historic trend of the company being targeted successfully by hackers. We could expect that Microsoft and Xbox may well help the company make their security a bit better in the talks.
Thankfully DDOS defenses do also already exist. Cloudflare is one of the technologies used by some websites to combat the problem. It might seem a bit of a burden, but a similar verification system might benefit online services for games, even though such a verification could slow down connection times somewhat.
What’s certain is that Microsoft and Sony have both learned their lesson from the Christmas attacks – with Phil Spencer himself saying that it was indeed a ‘learning experience ‘ for the pair. We hope that in the future, such attacks can be successfully deflected. Stay tuned for further updates.