Lizard Squad, a hacker group, has been pretty busy over Christmas. First it knocked down PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, bringing online gaming on PlayStation and Xbox consoles to a standstill, and then set its sights on an anonymity network called Tor. Lizard Squad shifted its focus over the weekend, saying that it would “no longer attack” gaming services, and instead go after Tor with a zero-day exploit. Simply put, a zero-day exploit is one that leverages an unknown vulnerability.
The Tor Project, a non-profit organization, had warned earlier this month about an attack that would try and “incapacitate” the network. That hasn’t happened it seems. In a statement it was confirmed that while attackers tried to become a large fraction of the network by signing up many new relays, the new relay servers only amounted to “less than 1 percent” of the entire capacity of the Tor network during this attack.
Work is now underway to remove these relays from the Tor network before they assume the form of a threat, and based on what The Tor Project has seen so far, it doesn’t expect “any anonymity or performance effects.”
The Tor network is often used by people who want to cover their tracks online, be it journalists in a hostile state, or activists galvanizing people against an oppressive government. It is also used by criminals for obvious reasons, but Lizard Squad went after Tor because “only hackers, miscreants and pedophiles use Tor.”