It’s not just banks and hospitals that can get hit with a DDoS attack. Actually, if you’ve been in the gaming scene a while, you’re probably familiar with the hazards of a DDoS attack, especially if you were about to win. It wouldn’t be unheard of for your opponent to gum up the works of the game to save his own stats, take over your machine, or steal your personal information. .
On the whole, another player having an army of botnets to use against you takes the fun out of the whole thing, especially if you were trying to move up a rank, or you had a really clean head shot lined up. To save yourself some problems, consider DDoS mitigation solutions, which can manage the DDoS threat without requiring too much active intervention from you and improve your gaming experience. You might not be able to stop DDoS attacks on gamers, but you can reduce the likelihood that one will happen to you.
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Gaming is a Prime DDoS Target
Cheating gamers use DDoS attacks to gain advantages that more strongly resemble pay-to-win tactics than actual skill, which can make playing games with a particularly large hacking problem a pain. After all, if you’re probably going to lose anyway, there’s no point playing. For the attackers, the advantages could include preventing a hit on their stats, forcing you or your team to lose the game, or simply slowing down the game for other players. The attack could also be used to keep players busy while hackers use the vulnerable machines to mine cryptocurrency or break into individual accounts to steal personal or financial information.
Uptime and lag are key components of the gaming experience. For a game to operate efficiently, uptime, or the time a computer takes to complete an operation, needs to be high. Meanwhile, ping, which is the time it takes for information to travel from your computer to the server, should be low, preferably around 50 milliseconds for high-level gamers.
If ping begins creeping up around 150 milliseconds, lag, which is the time between a gamer’s input and the server’s response, will become noticeable and frustrating. Shots that should have been kills miss wildly, you miss a ledge and fall to your death, or you’re killed before your building materials finish assembling. Many a gamer has slammed his controller down over less.
Typically, gaming PCs and consoles do not have particularly beefy security in place, which makes them prime targets for attacks like DDoS. If there is no protection against an attack, malicious players have plenty to gain and very little (aside from any money they spend on DDoS-as-a-service) to lose. Many gaming services struggle to track down and punish DDoS attackers, making it easy for the attackers to avoid unwanted consequences.
Dark Frost Focuses on Gaming
Unfortunately for gamers everywhere, the DDoS threat isn’t going away. In February 2023, the Dark Frost botnet, which is a Mirai relative, began attacking players during games. Dark Frost currently consists of over 400 machines and is most likely growing. Although it isn’t a particularly sophisticated botnet, the poor security of the average gaming setup means that it is relatively easy to attack a target and avoid getting caught.
It’s so easy that the creator of Dark Frost has reportedly been streaming his activities, which suggests that potential victims would benefit from improving their threat management. Aside from the risk of personal data compromise and unauthorized cryptomining, a compromised machine can be recruited into the botnet and used in DDoS attacks against large organizations to overwhelm their security measures.
Managing the Bot Threat to Gaming
To ensure a positive gaming experience, minimize your risk of compromised personal information, and avoid becoming the owner of a zombie machine, consider installing anti-bot protection. Advanced protection solutions can detect and eliminate bot traffic, preventing an attack from occurring at all. Detection prevents common bot attacks like CAPTCHA defeat, ad fraud, data scraping, and, naturally, the DDoS attack.
However, rather than relying on IP addresses, which can be misleading, effective bot detection uses data fingerprinting. This allows the detection solution to track legitimate traffic through familiarity and a positive identification, whereas traffic that lacks fingerprints is much less likely to be allowed access. This is a much more accurate detection strategy than IP address tracking as IP addresses can be spoofed or stolen.
If the attack is too subtle for automated detection to be effective, a good solution may offer scalability, allowing significantly more than the usual traffic to pass through by offering extra server space. All possible access points should be protected, and DDoS mitigation solutions are generally offered as part of a security stack that includes WAFs or WAAPs for maximum access point protection.
Gaming can be tough even when everything is going well, so it’s very frustrating when someone uses a DDoS attack. Whether it’s a simple attack designed to jam the servers to enable that person to win or a more complex attack designed as a distraction to cover other malicious activity, it’s best to implement DDoS protection. Adequate security will go a long way toward a gaming experience that is more fun and more secure.