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February 27, 2015

Lizard Squad hack on Lenovo was not an act of revenge

This is no time to start taking the Lizards seriously.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

It had already been a bad week for Lenovo when hackers purporting to be from Lizard Squad set up a redirect on its site to a bizarre domain, where High School Musical music played over images of an unidentified youth.

Superfish, a piece of adware the electronics manufacturers had bundled with their laptops, was found days earlier to be so dangerous that the US government warned people against using it, and Lenovo was forced to release a tool to aid its customers in removing it.

Many have connected the two events, and indeed the Lizards even released a screenshot of company emails that claimed the Superfish remover had "bricked" a customer’s laptop – perhaps the third piece of bad news for the company. Some, including the International Business Times, have even dubbed it an act of "revenge".

But attributing motives to Lizard Squad is never quite that easy. By the group’s own account its attacks started last summer as pure amusement, morphing into a concerted campaign against gaming networks later cynically rebranded as advertising for its distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) tool Lizard Stresser.

From there the Lizards gained a fondness for money, if not for professionalism, flogging off Mega vouchers given to them by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to stop them DDoSing, and then developing drugs marketplace Shenron and black search engine optimisation (SEO) service that is still yet to be fully launched.

Whether the attack on Lenovo was the result of a random probe by the group or a targeted campaign against the company, the hack shows the group has not lost its fondness for publicity, which may be the only constant in their year-long quest against the Internet.

Yet while Lenovo were wrong to issue laptops with Superfish, the media should resist attempts to portray this attack as an act of revenge. Whatever the true motives of the Lizards, restoring the balance of morality is not among them.

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