Online games have come a long way since the advent of the internet. In fact, it has now become one of the most profitable industries on the internet.
However, one of the biggest dilemmas now in the online gaming industry is the Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks. The prevalence of these attacks is increasing at a rapid pace. Nevertheless, specific measures such as having a gaming-specific VPN, hiding real IP address and many more can help defend gamers against DDoS attacks.
What are DDoS attacks?
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a common attack method that involves a huge volume of traffic that flood a targeted server. This causes the server to become extremely slow or completely unresponsive.
Let’s say you run an online gaming network that can only handle ten requests. The attacker will send over 200 requests that will make it difficult for your server to run your gaming network. These malicious requests will disguise as ordinary requests so that you cannot distinguish them from real requests. This will prevent real requests from joining the gaming network.
How does DDoS work?
Generally, the attacker controls thousands of computers of unsuspecting users from various parts of the world to create an attack network using relevant technologies. This network is then used to direct traffic on the victim server through a simple request such as to view a webpage.
In most cases, the targeted server is not designed to handle too many simultaneous requests. As a result, it becomes overworked and stops responding completely. The DDoS attacks are meant to achieve two main goals:
- Overload the targeted server or network
- Prevent legitimate users from connecting to the targeted server or network
Types of DDoS attacks
Even though there are various types of DDoS attacks, these are the most common DDoS attacks that can affect gamers all over the world.
- Flooding or volumetric attack
In this type of DDoS attack, a large volume of traffic is sent to the victim server to congest it. Nowadays, it is much easier for attackers to get overwhelming traffic through the use of botnets as well as advanced tools and techniques. The traffic then crashes the victim’s server so that legitimate users cannot access it.
- Amplification attack
This is another DDoS attack that manipulates domain name systems to flood a victim’s server with vast quantities of user datagram protocol packets (UDP).
The perpetrator can use various amplification methods to inflate the size of the UDP packets. This makes the attack so lethal to destroy even the most robust servers. In most cases, the UDP packets are faked to disguise their origin and overpower the victim server’s firewall defenses.
- Resource depletion attack
This attack works similarly as the amplification attack where the victim’s server is attacked with fake information packets to seize it. This makes the server unable to respond to legitimate requests.
- Diversion or ransom attack
Perpetrators use this DDoS attack to divert the attention of the victim’s security team and incident responders in order to access the servers using other means.
One of the most common variations of this attack is to continually flood the victim’s server until they pay a ransom. In most cases, the perpetrators demand to be paid using untraceable cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.
Ways to prevent DDoS attacks
Although there is no perfect way to protect yourself against DDoS attacks, there are precautions you can take to reduce the risks of an attack.
- Use an antivirus software
Effective antivirus software will not only protect your device against malware but also against DDoS attacks. This is an effective way to avoid getting DDoS attacks from any gaming server you connect to.
Therefore, before you start enjoying your favorite online game, make sure you have installed a reliable firewall and antivirus. Also, make sure to update the antivirus software regularly to stay protected.
- Hide your IP address
Each device that connects to the internet has a unique identifier known as the IP address. Perpetrators usually use this address to take your gaming device hostage.
So, if you are gaming online, it is very important to use a gaming-specific VPN to hide your real IP address. The best VPNs you can use are NordVPN, IPVanish, CyberGhost, TorGuard and Symantec Norton Secure VPN.
- Improve your home network
Most homeowners use routers in their homes to connect to the internet with multiple devices. Choose a reliable router with in-built defenses to protect your gaming device from DDoS attacks.
The online gaming industry is growing by leaps and bounds with the number of gamers increasing rapidly.
Unfortunately, many malicious hackers are preying on online players. Some hackers go to the extent of extorting gamers and developers. Thus, it is very important to take the necessary measures mentioned above to stay protected.