If you woke up on Christmas morning and found Santa placed something XBox or Playstation under the tree, you also found that someone placed coal in your stocking as XBox Live and the Playstation Network were down.
As of today, XBox is back up, but PSN is still down.
The official XBox Live service status reads everything is up and running.
PSN status says it's still down, and it appears the status page can't handle all the regular traffic as at times it says there is an error - which isn't directly related to the DDoS attack - it's everyone checking to see if the PSN is back up, and ironically, the server can't handle all the requests.
The good news is that early this morning the official AskPlaystation Twitter feed posted that the PSN is gradually coming back online. I just checked mine, and it's still down; you may want to check to see if the PSN is up and running for you.
The group claiming to be responsible for the attack is the "Lizard Squad," who have now moved on from attacking XBox Live and PSN to go after the TOR browser.
What the Lizard Squad did is basically gather a zombie army of computers and directed them all at the PSN and XBox Live. The Squad hacked into other computers, controlled them remotely without the users knowledge, and sent tons of requests aimed at the Playstation Network and XBox Live, which crashed the servers due too much bot traffic. Some of these botnet networks are actually millions of computers strong, and if they are repeatedly hitting the server over and over (in various ways), that's when the server fails.
So why did the Lizard Squad do it?
Too much time on their hands? Maybe. Need of a girlfriend? Probably (comic book readers get this all the time, too, guys). One member claimed they did it to raise awareness due to the fact that Microsoft and Sony charge too much, and they don't put anything back into their security. A member claimed that said DDoS attack could have easily been prevented, and the Lizard Squad did give at least a month's notice. The bad news is that the Squad is stating the attacks won't stop until Sony and Microsoft both learn from the attack and upgrade their security accordingly.