The group that allegedly took down Microsoft and Sony’s gaming networks now says it’s set its sights on a new target. Lizard Squad, which took credit for denial of service attacks that kept Xbox Live and PlayStation Network offline over Christmas, tweeted earlier today that it was going after the Tor encryption service.
In a conversation on Twitter, Kobeissi and security researcher Frederic Jacobs expressed some concern, but the implications of all these new nodes aren’t clear yet. “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. According to an explanation from Tor last year, new relays are initially capped at a very low bandwidth of about 20 KB/s, which means that they get “basically no use” for the first three days.
Lizard Squad, which supposedly halted its gaming network attacks after being offered gift vouchers by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, has not elaborated on its intentions for Tor, although its Twitter bio currently reads “I cry when Tor deserves to die.”
The Tor Project, meanwhile, doesn’t seem all that worried. “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, several hours after the nodes were added. “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.”