How to Protect Your Game Server from DDoS Attacks. A simple guide for beginners.

Why You Need Geo-Blocking in Layer 7 Protection (1)

Some of my favorite gaming activities are, playing a few rounds of Dota 2 after work, raiding with friends in an RPG and collecting rare artifacts. A bit less common nowadays but I also like to play battle royale versions of these games.

And then, out of the blue, always-improving cybercrime takes down your server just as someone else scores a game-winning goal. Game servers are a particularly vulnerable target, It’s a challenging feat to have to process player movements happening in real-time while they’re in a 3D environment.

DDoS attacks are an increasingly common problem for games. But what can be done about these attacks? First, let’s take a look at how these attacks work and why they might happen. We’ll also learn about possible protections from these kinds of threats!

Why DDoS Attacks are Targeting Game Server

As games become more and more complex, the requirement for powerful hardware has exponentially increased. To support this, the amount of power a player’s computer needs is greater than what was needed to send a man to the moon. After that, games are especially demanding on hardware, which is why they can be vulnerable to viruses, such as those acquired when downloading copyrighted content from a torrent.

A lot of malware can detect your computer’s specifications and look for weaknesses to exploit. They might install a cryptocurrency miner or bot and start attacking game servers you play on.

But if DDoS attacks are being organized, why would people be preventing other people from gaming? The answer is simple – there’s loads of money in the industry and it’s expected to be worth trillions of dollars in the future. As a company that relies heavily on the internet, there’s no denying that cyberattacks are a daily reality. Companies who want to stay competitive will find themselves in the crosshairs of competitors and random hackers alike.

As more and more Internet connected devices are left unprotected and accessible, the engineering of a botnet is becoming less challenging every month. The price of a DDoS attack is also decreasing. Even now, a cyber attack can be ordered with a couple of clicks and for just a few dollars. One of these attacks can wreak havoc on your company.

Targets of DDoS on Game Servers

Attacks are capable of targeting individual players as well as websites. We’ve all heard about situations like when Minecraft servers were targeted in competitor attacks. Attacks happen when a new server has just been deployed and hasn’t yet earned a reputation for itself to ward people off, or if a server has been abandoned altogether. They may also get targeted in a ransom DDoS attack

When attacks target specific players, this is related to the competitive nature of online games, especially commercial ones. One common type of DDoS attack is where hackers find the IP addresses of other players and clog their bandwidth by sending a flood of traffic to the site. Such an attack can lead to limited speed or disconnection altogether which is annoying and makes it easier for the attacker to win.

With the increase of botnets, there are also attacks that affect angry communities. For example, trolls may infuriate a whole cross-section of gamers or social network users. In this case, botnets attack the game servers, making them unavailable for hours or even days.

If you choose to not make your server stable, many players will leave because they’ll get tired of the game crashing and lagging. Players may never come back to your game again if you allow DDoS attacks.

Common DDoS Attacks on Game Servers

There are usually two types of attack on gamespace: volumetric flooding and Level 7 attacks, which aim right at the target application. We use a less popular route, but which can lead to the same outcome. It requires less time and effort, but it can have a negative impact on your company.

Considering the power of botnets, attackers have no limitations in terms of computing resources. The attacking servers have limitations and thus they need a type of protection called DDOS protection.

Preserving the Game Server Uptime During DDoS

When it comes to protecting a game server, there are two main areas you need to focus on: Firstly, the back-end configuration, and secondly the actual server software + game

  • Ensure that the network engine is configured correctly to handle high loads and if the network stack is implemented properly
  • Install and configure the firewall correctly, deny any types of traffic and open ports only if necessary
  • Set up email filters
  • To protect the performance of your dedicated game server, use a reverse proxy server that let’s the server respond to the request instead.
  • A VPN will allow you to mask your computer’s IP and cover your tracks on the internet.

It is possible to use different measures to mitigate the damage from a DDoS attack, but it’s not possible with them to fully protect your game server.

Why You Need a Professional Protection

Renting a protected and dedicated server can protect your game server against DDoS attacks. For example, by installing filtering applications with edge-of-network protection to help stop attacks as they enter the network.

Migrating to our DDoS-Guard will give you a way to protect against DDOS attacks while also providing fault tolerance and even under high loads. Gaming is an increasingly multiplayer experience and often suffers from FPS drops, lag, and DDOS attacks.

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