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Have Authorities Found the Xbox Live and PSN Hackers?

New information has risen about the alleged identities of the Lizard Squad members responsible for the hacks on Xbox Live and PSN.

An alleged member of the group claiming responsibility for the DDoS attacks that took Xbox Live and PSN down for hours on Christmas Day was arrested in the United Kingdom. 22-year-old Vinnie Omari, who is believed to be a member of self-styled hacker collective "Lizard Squad," was arrested on suspicion of fraud. Thames Valley Police announced that he was arrested in connection with an investigation into PayPal thefts, but the search warrant presented to Omari shows that police were planning to search his phones, computers, email accounts, and more "in relation to the hacking of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live systems over the Christmas period."

Security expert Brian Krebs had previously identified Omari — who appeared in an interview for Sky News as a "security analyst" commenting on the PSN and Xbox Live downtime — as a member of Lizard Squad. 

Omari sent a picture of the search warrant to The Daily Dot, and said that police took "everything," including his Xbox One, phones, laptops, and USB sticks. For now, Omari has been released on bail, with a court date set for the 10th of March. Charges are yet to be filed against him, but he told The Daily Dot that he'll know more when the forensics teams get more info.

Krebs also identified a second person — a Finnish teenager — as another member of Lizard Squad. Julius Kivimäki, who gave an interview to BBC News alongside Omari, was reportedly found to have more than 3,000 stolen credit card numbers in 2013, when he was arrested on suspicion of operating an illegal botnet. It's not clear whether both individuals were actually behind the attacks, or simply riding the collective's coattails, but both are drawing heavy interest from law enforcement around the world — according to sources apparently familiar with the matter, the FBI is investigating a Finnish person of 16 or 17 in connection with the attacks on the console services. 

Finnish website Yle reports that authorities indeed questioned a 17-year old male they're calling "Ryan" in connection with the PSN and Xbox Live takedowns earlier this week. But as of yet, he hasn't been arrested or detained for involvement in Lizard Squad.

Published Jan. 4th 2015

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