Games Maker Blizzard Suffers From European DDoS Attack

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

DDoS attack in Europe inadvertently hits games maker

Players of some of the world’s most loved online games, including Diablo and World of Warcraft, have had their fun interrupted by an attack affecting Blizzard, the American developer and publisher of the famous titles.

The company has reported various problems with logging into accounts and latency during gaming, but said it wasn’t even the intended target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in Europe.

DDoS on games firms

On-line Piracy Key © bloomua - Fotolia“Diablo, World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Hearthstone players may be impacted by high latency and disconnections during their gaming experience that are the result of a series of DDoS attacks on certain European online services,” said Blizzard.

“Although Blizzard’s infrastructure isn’t targeted, the disruption effects rippled and have been felt by a portion of our players’ population.

“While we are closely monitoring the situation we wanted to thank you for your patience and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Games companies have been battered by various kinds of DDoS attacks in recent months. Just before Christmas, various titles, including Battle.net, were knocked offline, whilst multiplayer role-playing title Wurm recently offered a €10,000 reward for anyone who offered information on an attack on its infrastructure.

Yet in this case it was apparent another entity, not Blizzard, was the target. “This is a common side effect of larger scale DDoS attacks,” said Ashley Stephenson, CEO of Corero Network Security.

“The shared infrastructure of the Internet service provider or hosting center are all subject to possible overload when they are forced to carry the malicious attack traffic and this can impact innocent bystanders such as other customers who are downstream of the overloaded resources even though their online services are not explicitly being targeted by the attack traffic.”

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