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ITIC’s coverage areas continue to expand and evolve based on your feedback. Our Website content is growing as well. We will now feature content industry expert “Guest Bloggers.” Debbie Fletcher examines DDoS hacks on popular games.

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By Debbie Fletcher

Ask any gamer; timing is everything. Even the smallest disruption in gameplay can be a virtual disaster in a heated competition.

Hackers understand the fragility of these networks, and they are willing to manipulate them for their own gain. Read on to find out DDoS is getting in the game, and how it is disrupting some of the most active and profitable networks in the world.

 

Gaming DDoS—A Rising Trend

At any one time there are millions of people playing online games on the multitude of gaming networks available today. There is considerable pressure on these networks to maintain an impeccably high level of service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Gamers are certainly not taking breaks during holidays either.

Not only must the network be running at top efficiency for the gameplay; servers must also be able to simultaneously handle in-game purchases and other transactions at break-neck pace.

Functionality and loading times are at a premium, meaning gaming networks have more to lose. It’s no wonder this fast paced, fast money environment is a major target for DDoS attacks.

DNS Floods work particularly well at disrupting gaming networks because slight changes in gameplay can have devastating effects on user experience. Sending vast amounts of data to a provider’s server will cause ‘lag’ times for gamers and prevent others from connecting.

Furthermore, the power of gaming networks is also vulnerable to being leveraged for DDoS attacks against outside networks. Gaming infrastructures holds many IP addresses that are easily exploitable to hit other targets with reflection DDoS.

In June, security provider Incapsula mitigated a DDoS attack on a prominent gaming network that reached over 90 million packets per second at its height. The attack continued over 48 hours. Without a DDoS protection service in place, an attack of this size would undoubtedly bring down the target server entirely.

 

DDoS Attack on PSN, Blizzard

More recently in the news, a major DDoS attack caused massive disruptions to gaming giants PSN (Play Station Network) and Blizzard (host Battle.net, home of World of Warcraft).

The attack sent shockwaves through the gaming community. Millions of Playstation users were unable to log in or play for hours.

Claiming credit for the attack was a hacking collective called Lizard Squad. They announced they were performing the DDoS for political reasons, supporting the radical ISIS group in the Middle East. It’s also a possibility that PSN competitors financially backed their attacks, a common motivation behind high profile DDoS.

But then Lizard squad expanded their mischief out of the digital sphere. They made fake bomb threats on Twitter, saying Sony executive John Smedley’s plane was carrying explosives. Although the claim was unsubstantiated, Smedley’s plane was grounded nonetheless.

 

High Profile to Local

Although the cited examples of DDoS involve large corporations, owners of small and medium size enterprises should still be wary of cyber threats. The enterprise field is not seeing the same jump in DDoS, but the levels are steadily rising. Make sure you are on top of your online business’ security so you never lose your connection to your customers.

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Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of magazines and online news publications including http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/, http://www.khaama.com/, http://datacenterpost.com/, and https://www.limestonenetworks.com/.

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