Last week saw two major online gaming companies in the throes of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The first to be hit was Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft: Legion. Then, a day later, Electronic Arts (EA), which just launched the beta version of its Battlefield 1 game, was hit. The attacks caused widespread connectivity issues for EA, not only for the beta version of Battlefield 1, but across multiple EA games. Via Twitter, the hacking collective PoodleCorp claimed responsibility for both attacks (the same group also claimed responsibility for an earlier attack on Blizzard this summer).
These incidents are just two of the many DDoS attacks on gaming companies in recent months. They are prime examples of just how vulnerable the online gaming industry is to such attacks. Attackers come in several forms; some, like PoodleCorp, seem to do it for the sake of boosting their hacker reputation. But DDoS attacks are often launched by gamers themselves, to keep others offline, reducing their ability to progress in the game. Whatever their motives, attackers can easily wreak havoc, with DDoS software that requires little coding knowledge, that is either free, or costs just a few dollars, on the dark Web. Or, simpler still, they can even use one of the growing number of DDoS services which are now available, for similarly low costs.
Gaming companies depend on service availability; players hate to be knocked offline, so any service interruption results in loss of customer loyalty and brand reputation. Furthermore, in literal terms, reduced availability equals reduced revenue. The gaming companies are virtually “sitting ducks” unless they have the protection offered by the latest generation of DDoS protection hardware. If they are using a legacy DDoS solution, it’s not sufficient because legacy solutions just don’t have the capacity, intelligence, or reaction times to deal with today’s attacks.
But gaming companies— or, for that matter, all companies that rely on a continuous online presence—now have better choices that can deliver near-instantaneous protection when DDoS attacks strike. They can either deploy the latest breed of intelligent, high-performance, DDoS defense solutions themselves, or they can choose an Internet Service Provider that offers DDoS protection as part of their service. ISPs who want to offer DDoS protection as a service can now effectively block DDoS traffic of all sizes and durations so that it never has a chance to impact their infrastructure, or its intended target, while legitimate traffic continues to flow.
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