Take down any website for $3

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NEW YORK — The hacking group that claims it took down the Xbox and PlayStation networks on Christmas can now help you take down any website for the low, low price of $2.99.

Lizard Squad on Tuesday launched its “Lizard Stresser” website, which offers denial of service attacks to paying customers.

Denial of service attacks flood a website with bogus Internet traffic, preventing legitimate traffic from coming in. They’re a favorite tool of hackers and protesters who want to take a particular site or person off the Internet.

So why did Lizard Squad disrupt two of the largest video game networks during the single biggest gaming day of the year? It was essentially a marketing campaign for Lizard Stresser. Until this week, it was unclear what Lizard Squad’s motive was.

Denial of service attacks on websites that you don’t own are illegal. Lizard Stresser claims to be a legitimate tool to test your own website’s ability to withstand an attack. But given Lizard Squad’s reputation, that’s laughable.

Lizard Stresser offers customers a way to take down IP addresses (the Internet equivalent of a website or network’s telephone number) for between 100 seconds (price: $2.99) and 8 hours ($69.99).

The online tool is for both “beginners as well as advanced users.” All you need to take down a site is its port, IP address and a time that you’d like to launch an attack.

It even offers tech support.

“If you do not know what you are doing … please open a ticket if you need more help,” the site says in its frequently asked questions section.

Lizard Stresser says it offers attacks that average of 5 gigabits per second of bogus traffic directed at a target and a maximum of 20 Gbps. That would result in a pretty effective attack against most sites, particularly if they don’t have denial of service protection from a third party.

But even that protection might not help — Lizard Stresser claims it has methods to counteract that.

Cloudflare, a major provider of denial of service protection, masks websites’ IP addresses to prevent them from being attacked. Lizard Stresser says it has “Cloudflare resolvers” in its arsenal, which can trick Cloudflare into giving up a site’s real IP address.

Lizard Stresser also specializes in attacking people’s Skype accounts as well as Steam (an online video game network). The site even provides a list of previously attacked IP addresses, and it promises “even more tools on their way!”

Despite Lizard Squad’s reputation for taking down video game networks for fun, the group claims that it is offering Lizard Stresser for legitimate purposes.

“Permission is granted to stress test dedicated servers and networks owned by you,” the group says in its terms of service.”This is the opportunity to make your firewalls better, not to misuse against the law.”

Lizard Squad also says in its terms of service that it operates in and is governed by the laws of the “State of Chicago.”