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World of Warcraft Shut Down by DDoS

Game developer and publisher Blizzard Entertainment, maker of the mega-popular online game, World of Warcraft, has experienced a DDoS attack that users say have shut down a big swath of its games and servers.

Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility. It has also retweeted a post saying that an unidentified person broke into Blizzard’s employee database to lift phone numbers, emails and other sensitive information.

 “It looks like we experienced a potential DDoS on one of our datacenters,” Blizzard said in a statement on its official Battle.net forum site, where users made their DDoS woes very clear. “Initial impact appears to have ended and our engineers put up some buffers to resolve the issue, and realms should start recovering. We’re continuing to monitor and work on mitigating the impact. Apologies for the inconvenience, and we’ll be sure to provide updates as they continue to come in.”

Gaming servers are a top target of DDoS assaults; they have been hit by some of the largest and longest attacks on recent record. According to Imperva research, in the past two years alone, the number of DDoS attacks has actually gone up by 100 percent. And in just the past three years, 45 percent of gaming sites were attacked. Imperva predicts that 75 percent of them will get attacked again.

“Since online gaming platforms are highly sensitive to latency and availability issues, they’re ideal DDoS attack targets,” said Ofer Gayer, senior security researcher at Imperva for the Incapsula product line, via email. “Mitigating DDoS on game servers is a particularly complex task. 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 (TTM).”

World of Warcraft has been the target of hackers before, having as it does a large and attractive tech-savvy, online user base, and has even been hit with lawsuits over security. In 2014 it was the target of a widespread Trojan infection campaign and in 2013 a hacker was able to carry out a massive in-game massacre.

Photo © Lauren Elisabeth/Shutterstock.com

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