Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to make a profit. They have now set their sights on the gaming industry. The pandemic has changed how we work, and companies have had to adapt to remote working. On the other hand, online entertainment has grown, which has attracted a huge number of new players to the internet. It has also led hackers to look for new ways to make money.

What is a DDoS attack?

A DDoS attack aims to overload the victim’s network with unlawful traffic from many locations. These attacks are often carried out using a botnet, a computer and device network that is infected with malware and controlled by the hacker. One command from the cybercriminal can cause thousands of botnet members to target a given IP address, causing the victim’s systems to crash.

The ease of launching a DDoS attack makes it a popular tactic for gamers who cheat. When the opponent is attacked, the attacker can make their session slow or unplayable, thus gaining a significant advantage. Software developers take the problem very seriously. For example, Activision and Ubisoft banned gamers who used DDoS attacks to get their way into the game. Additionally, Ubisoft took legal action against the operators of four DDoS rental services that had been used to launch attacks against his games.

Types of DDoS Attacks

There are many types of DDoS attacks in gaming that generally fall into one of these different categories:

  • Blackmailing developers and publishers: This typically involves limiting player access to multiplayer games until the developer agrees to the attacker’s demands.
  • Damage to the reputation of a company or service, etc. These attacks typically limit players’ access to a service or game to damage a company’s reputation. This attack can be initiated by other companies or even by over-enthusiastic fans looking to boost their game by harming another.
  • Form of protest or revenge. It is up to a group of activists. These groups can be started by passionate community members looking to punish a developer or publisher for questionable business practices. In other cases, it may be a reaction to changes in the content of an online game or to the fact that a player has been banned. In 2020, a Canadian player had thus paralyzed his city’s network for several hours after losing to “Call of Duty,” reports the Journal de Montréal.
  • Obtaining an advantage over other players. Most of the time, this type of attack does not target the developer, publisher, or the game itself but other players. In this case, the attacker launches a DDoS attack toward personal IP addresses to slow down the internet connection, resulting in poor response time, slowdowns, or even disconnections from the game. Other players are much easier targets and are more likely to attribute their game losses to other players’ skill or server issues.

How to protect against DDoS attacks?

Here are some tips on how to prevent DDoS attacks:

Use a VPN

The number one reason gamers suggest using a VPN is for protection. Some games use Peer-to-Peer technology to facilitate networking in multiplayer games. When this is the case, it is sometimes possible to discover the adversary’s Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you know the IP address of another device, you can try connecting to it. Attackers use this information to carry out distributed denial-of-service attacks, flooding an IP address with so much internet traffic that the connection drops. If you are the target of a DDoS attack while connected to a VPN for gaming, you may not have been taken offline yet, but that won’t be a problem since your real IP has not been affected.

Detect the attack before it happens

There are tools for continuous monitoring and analysis of our website. This way, we can detect possible DDoS attacks before they happen and become a problem. The idea is that the earlier we can detect such an attack, the better.

Some additional tips

  • Block IPs. There are blacklists of infected computers on the network that are part of a botnet. If you block them on your server, they won’t be able to send malicious requests.
  • Do not click on links received via chat; if it is someone you know, check that their account has not been hacked.
  • It is clear that DDoS attacks pose a risk and danger to computer systems. Using them can be very damaging to businesses and websites. However, remember that individual users are not immune to these attacks.
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