A cryptic tweet by the hacking group PoodleCorp referring to October 21 as a “battlefield” has some wondering whether the shadowy hacking collective might be behind the massive DDoS cyber attack that crippled many prominent Internet sites.
The tweet was posted by the hacking group on September 19 and promised that something big was going down on October 21. It did. Many of the most popular sites on the Internet – including Netflix, Twitter, Reddit, PayPal and others – crashed because of the massive DDoS cyber attack on October 21. Online gamers also found their games crashing, leading one gaming product review site to point to Poodlecorp as the possible culprit due to the group’s prescient tweet.
Wrote the site, “In reality, it looks like this is again the result of a DDOS attack by hacking group Poodlecorp. This group has already attacked EA Servers in the past and we can tell you that on September 19, 2016 they threatened in advance that they would be hacking Battlefield 1 servers on October 21.”
Later in the day, though, Cybersecurity firm Flashpoint traced Friday’s widespread internet outage to the Internet of Things, according to cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs. Read more about that here.
Homeland Security and the FBI are investigating the October 21 attack, and the cause has not been determined, nor has responsibility. Some online conspiracy theorists have also pointed the finger at Russia or even the U.S. government.
WikiLeaks implied the hack was by its supporters.
Poodlecorp has gotten political at times, retweeting this in July:
Others said Poodlecorp and a hacking group called Lizard Squad might have banded together.
PoodleCorp previously tried to take credit last summer for massive crashes of the popular Pokemon Go gaming app.
Pokemon Go servers kept crashing shortly after the game’s launch, infuriating fans as the app became the most popular U.S. mobile game ever. A group of hackers that calls itself “PoodleCorp” claimed responsibility for the widespread server crashes over the July 16-17 weekend.
Frustrated users around the world sometimes encountered this message: “We are working to resolve the issue. Please try again soon!” The CEO of the game’s developer, John Hanke, said the company wasn’t completely prepared for the level of interest, saying, “We thought the game would be popular, but it obviously struck a nerve.”
When Pokemon Go servers went down on July 16, PoodleCorp posted a tweet that some interpreted as taking credit for the crash. “The group appears to have ‘claimed responsibility’ for the crash,” said UK Mirror. The group has more than 91,000 followers on Twitter.
What is PoodleCorp?
The Independent has labeled PoodleCorp a “cyber collective.” Reddit has several threads discussing PoodleCorp theories. The identities of the people behind PoodleCorp are not known, although the hacking group has a website where it claims its hacks.
The Independent describes how the hack works this way: “A DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service, is a way troublemakers crash servers by flooding them with so many requests every second that they cannot cope.”
Gearnuke explains that DDoS hacks have targeted other devices, point out that: “PSN, Xbox Live and many other services have been victims of the attacks in the past.” Gearnuke says PoodleCorp has gone after online targets before, saying, “The group has been recently taking down YouTubers like H3H3Productions and Pewdiepie but apparently now have set their sights on Pokemon GO.”
PoodleCorp is known for staging a series of other hacks. Hackread says PoodleCorp also “previously hacked YouTube accounts of WatchMojo, Redmercy, Lilly Singh and Leafyishere.”
Upset users criticized PoodleCorp for the small stakes of the supposed Pokemon Go hack:
Some didn’t buy the hacking collective’s Pokemon Go claims, and the company that creates the app had denied it was a hack. iDigitalTimes thinks the hacker claims are suspect, writing, “It is more likely that the servers went down because Niantic released the game in more countries before the servers were stable.”
“App developer Niantic says it’s simply down due to an overwhelming number of downloads,” UK Mirror concurred. Gearnuke adds that it’s not clear whether the July 16-17 weekend crashes were caused by hacking or just the typical server issues.
Other hackers were suspicious of the claims.
PoodleCorp’s leader is identified as XO through a Twitter handle. XO had posted tweets promising something bigger but the Twitter site is now deleted.
Authorities say they aren’t sure yet who perpetrated the October 21 attack, though.