DDoS attacks on gamers have become more common in recent years. These attacks are becoming a serious problem for both the gaming industry and gamers themselves. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular DDoS attack methods and how to combat them.
When you’re about to take out a rival, claim Victory Royale or round out a royal flush you can suddenly be hit by an attack that stops your pings or disconnects you. This is a denial of service (DoS) attack and any game these happen to could have been victim of it.
A new report reveals that of all cyber attacks targeting gambling industries in the last year, 34% focused on online gaming platforms. It is important to note that there’s no way for crypto-currencies to be hacked and criminals are focusing more on other industries such as banking and financial services. Denial of service and DDoS attacks are prevalent in gaming these days. They’re there to both boot people offline, as well as introducing lag spikes so they’re at a disadvantage over their opponents. But the question is WHY? And more importantly, what can gamers do about it?
In this post, I want to explore a common occurrence in online gaming today: Denial-of-service attacks or DDoS. I’ll explain what they are, how they work and why they are so popular. In the end, I’ll list some easy steps that gamers can take in order to protect themselves from these attacks and keep playing their favorite
Some mistakes we usually doing
Gamers are a lucrative target for cyber attackers as there is usually an expensive computer involved. Cybercriminals will use their machine for mining cryptocurrency at the hotel or to buy drugs on the darkweb. When the prize money involved in eSports has risen even higher, it’s natural that attacks on players, platforms and studios are on the rise. Let’s not forget that there was a US$30 million prize pool for the first Fortnite World Cup!
Online gaming has been getting attacked a lot lately by malicious people wanting to do huge damage with minimal effort. Like, they don’t need programming skills or anything like that. DDoS attacks which can be hired for only $10 and supported with technical help are now available. Just by paying some money to a PayPal or cryptocurrency account, your sworn enemy can pull you offline and disrupt your services.
A DoS attack is when someone sends a large amount of data to the target IP address and maybe slowing it down or completely knocking their networks offline. A DDoS attack is used to bring down an entire network by bombarding it with heavy volumes of data. In the event that a single connection isn’t enough, these attackers aim to overwhelm the target from all sides so there’s no way for the server to handle it. To do this, hackers can use a botnet- a group of malware-infected computers or devices that provide the firepower needed to initiate attacks. Usually, the owner never knows they’re infected or helping out an attack.
Back in 2016, the biggest internet-based attack in the world was launched by a zombie army of smart TVs, fridges and other infected devices. Today attackers rent out botnet armies to get successful attacks. When a computer game is attacked by DDoSs, it’s unavailable. When you consider that Fortnite’s 350m registered players spent a collective 3.2 billion hours in-game in April 2020 and Apex Legends took just one week to amass 25m users.
Cheaters gonna cheat
Gamers are in danger of being assaulted by DoS or DDoS attack when they’re playing on the internet. They’re easy to get hold of and you can use them as revenge or to give yourself an unfair advantage. Players using DDoS attacks to cheat at video games is ramping up so much that studios like Respawn, Activision and Ubisoft (makers of Apex Legends, Call of Duty and Rainbow Six Siege respectively) are banning players who use them. To combat cheaters, studios had to take extreme action since there is no way to legally prosecute those who sell the DDoS attacks.
It’s not all bad for the cheaters: many professional Fortnite players also get tricked by fake cheat tools, pretending to be ransomware. Malware has been released in various websites which are promising cheats for popular games like FIFA and CS:GO. But not all attackers are looking to game the system, some use these tools to unleash other malicious software. As more of these attacks happen, we can only expect them to grow in numbers as developers aim to take more measures against them.
Trolls gonna troll
These days, hackers aren’t just interested in overwhelming security by sending a large volume of junk traffic; they’re using more sophisticated methods to crash networks, take down sessions and interrupt services, creating maximum disruption for gamers-and putting massive pressure on game and platform providers
It is to no surprise that monthly security interruptions or downtime has been a major problem for companies running in this industry. Downtime can cost US$100,000 an hour – and the first sign of it whips up an instant social media storm. People complain, they do uninstalls, and reference other less than stellar times they’ve had with your company. In such a competitive market, the media & hackers can detect your service very quickly. This can result in an outflow of players from games, and then revenue and revenue for studios. A large loss of revenue in just a few minutes is not unheard of.
Can I be “DDoSed”?
Short answer: yes.
The attacker will need to know your IP address if you play individual game servers. If you only play through the official servers, like Steam or Xbox, your IP should be hidden automatically. If you’re a PC gamer who plays games like Minecraft or Team Fortress, your IP address may become visible to servers administrators and potentially the public, depending on your firewall settings.
By default, Skype and similar software used to be a weak point for gamers. Now you can hide your IP address by using them (you can double-check this). Large chat channels like discord take pains to ensure IP addresses are not shown on screen. Unfortunately, accidents can happen. For example, an incident where the IPs of gamers discussing were inadvertently revealed on a live stream.
As you play, keep your voice program updated and make sure only players on your friends list can reach you. It’s especially important to be careful with any information that could identify you because it might get stolen.
What should gamers do if they think they’re being attacked or DDoSed?
Bandwidth denial of service attacks can be caused by your home connection as well as the platform you’re on. It is often the only sign of an attack – a sudden outage and unexplained dc. The easiest way to tell how much bandwidth you are being denied is by testing your bandwidth with a site like speedtest.net
- Unplug the router on both ends
- Shut down your computer/console.
- If you experience difficulties turning on your computer, please wait a while and then try again.
Resetting the router should get you a new IP address; your present attacker would not be able to access it. A botnet is usually meant to stay online for as long as a given IP address is active. In order to disable it, you should probably turn off your router. Still nothing? Try contacting your provider in addition to checking for any known network issues. Chances are they can check your IP address to see if the traffic is coming from a suspicious source. If your computer is running sluggish and the CPU is at a high-level, it might be because someone has hacked and hijacked your computer as to use it for purposes like crypto mining or bots.
How can gamers protect themselves from DDoS attacks?
If you´re being attacked by a DDoS attack, there is not much you can do besides analyse the attack to see how it works and how it impacts your company. This will help with developing better protection in the future and protect other companies that might face a similar threat.
- Hide your IP to protect yourself.
Yes, you might have read this before – but how could it possibly hurt repeating such good advice? Like we said before, one of the best ways to protect yourself from a targeted DoS attack is by using a firewall.
- Keep resetting your IP address at least once a month.
Changing your password regularly is a good idea in order to prevent hackers from succeeding. Especially if you’re a high-profile user like a gamer or streamer, it’s important to do so. Resetting your IP address is quick and easy – just unplug your router and wait 10min. You can also reset your IP address in Windows by checking these settings. Mac users can change their IP by following a simple, three-step process in here
- Never click on links sent to you in chat.
If a friend sends you an email or text that looks like they may not have meant to send, it can be smart to make sure. Malicious links and phishing messages often lead to virus installs on your system or exposing your IP address.
- If your company requires a VPN connection, use one.
Data flows to the VPNs servers where it is checked and filtered. If it’s not a genuine request, it won’t be accepted. This essentially hides your IP address inside a virtual tunnel, blocking anyone that might want to access personal information or location data. Although VPNs can introduce some latency and inconsistency to your network connection, there is also a benefit to this. Some of the more ‘built for gaming’ VPNs are especially low-impact and will even improve your connection quality. They also offer added security measures for gamers.
- Improve your home network.
If you are getting your network hardware from the internet service provider who is providing your connection, then it should be up-to-date and secure. If the hardware is more than four years old, or if you bought it yourself, then you may want to bring this problem up with them. There are upgrades available for routers that provide up-to-date protection against some DoS attacks and other network intrusions. Some devices also have a blocklist preloaded with well known botnet IP addresses.
- Get the latest version of your Security Software.
Make sure you have enabled your antivirus software, security software and are running a firewall. Allow only the minimum amount of access points to be opened. Practice good patching hygiene to keep your system healthy.
To stay secure and protect your computer, here are some simple tips:
Having anti-malware on all of your devices (including your mobile phone) can help a lot with preventing malware. It can also provide protection from being included in an attack or becoming part of a botnet. Macs have been a target of numerous malicious attacks, often due to the misconception that they are immune to viruses and other malware. Be cautious and don’t become a victim! You can protect your home network by updating security software, staying patched and updating to newer hardware. Gamers understand how lag, interruptions or loss of connection can ruin the game for themselves and others. By taking charge, you’re doing your bit to make sure that you and everyone else can enjoy uninterrupted and high quality games. Make sure to contact your provider if you’re seeing issues with connectivity or game performance.