World of Warcraft developer Blizzard appears to have been hit by multiple DDoS attacks over the past couple of days, affecting its gaming customers.
The firm, which also produces first-person shooter game Overwatch, notified users via its Twitter feed of the DDoS blitz on Tuesday:
“We continue to actively monitor an ongoing DDOS attack against network providers, affecting latency/connections to our games.”
Several times over the succeeding day the firm posted updates claiming “the technical issues we were experiencing earlier have been resolved,” but then followed them with a new warning that it was monitoring an ongoing DDoS attack.
This hints that Blizzard suffered several waves of DDoS attacks – a common strategy to maximize impact.
A final update 11 hours ago at the time of writing claimed:
“We apologize once again for the inconvenience caused by today's outages, we're working to resolve this ASAP.”
The attacks came during the firm’s Overwatch Summer Games event, suggesting that it may have been the work of a rival looking to disrupt operations and damage Blizzard’s reputation, although that’s conjecture at this stage.
Ofer Gayer, senior security researcher at Imperva, explained that gaming businesses are a top target for DDoS-ers, having suffered some of the biggest and longest attacks on record.
“Mitigating DDoS on game servers is a particularly complex task,” he added.
“Gamers are very sensitive to the impact on latency, so what may be considered negligible for most services, can be very frustrating for the gaming community. This can be affected by multiple factors, most prominently the distribution of scrubbing locations and time-to-mitigate.”
Imperva research revealed a 100% increase in DDoS attacks between last year and this.
“In just the past three years, 45% of gaming sites were attacked, and 75% of them will get attacked again, as we’re seeing today,” argued Gayer.