What is a DDoS Attack?

It is easy to feel like you don’t know what the hell is going on in the world. You’re allowed to be into gaming without having an intricate knowledge of all things tech. In light of Battlefield 1’s beta issues and certain groups claiming responsibility for it, we wanted to take a few moments to explain what is exactly a DDoS attack is, and how it can take down a server.

PlayStation 4 users were granted access to the Beta for Battlefield 1, August 31 2016. When I attempted to log on around 8pm, I was met with multiple error messages telling me I couldn’t connect to the EA server. Following the link provided by EA at the error screen just might have been least helpful thing in the world. I’m old enough. I’m not banned. I don’t need to update or anything else. I had just finished playing the Titanfall 2 demo a few days earlier. But it wasn’t long before people took to Twitter to air their complaints to Electronic Arts. Through the chaos, there was one name that rose above the rest, taking credit for the outages. PoodleCorp

Who is PoodleCorpWell, frankly, who cares? People take credit for the actions of others all the time. They may, or may not have done it, and that will be sorted out in due time. The important thing, is to establish what exactly took place, and what that means for gamers. So thanks to an excellent article written Kim Zetter at Wired, we can break the information down a bit to get a better understanding on what happens during a DoS and DDoS attack.

There are two types of attacks on networks. DoS and DDoS. The former stands for “Denial of Service” and refers to an attack that overwhelms a system with data. Usually, it involves a flood of simultaneous requests sent to a website to view its pages.

For Example. You’re reading this article. Now pretend you’ve opened hundreds if not thousands of tabs, opening this same article, at the same time. The WordPress server couldn’t handle the amount of requests to see the same content at the same time. When that happens, you would have no idea. You would just be trying to see what the article was about but would be unable to do so as there were already several “people” trying to view this article at the same time.

Simple DoS attacks can accomplished from a single computer/machine. Those, however, have been replaced with DDoS attacks. The “Distributed Denial-of-Service” attacks don’t come from a single computer, but from many distributed across the internet. Hundreds and even thousands at one single time. Whereas a DoS attack is one person spamming the ever loving crap out of a network, the DDoS system not only uses multiple systems, but systems that may not even know they’re being used for that end.


EA’s Twitter Account Responding to User Issues

The key issue with combatting a DDoS attack is that you can’t simply block one IP address or system from attacking your system. Think of any time you’ve left a concert, or went to midnight launch. One guard cannot stop the entire crowd. Sure he and a couple of his bouncer friends might stop a few people, but they can’t stop all of them. The same is true with a DDoS attack. Which is why it becomes to difficult for companies to combat. It’s virtually impossible to stop all of the attacks from the various different systems all taking place simultaneously.

One important note, is that for the most part, DDoS attacks usually aren’t after any information or data. If an organization plans a DDoS attack, their goal is just to disrupt and get their name out there. Which why you can almost count on an organization taking credit for the attack.  It can be used, however, as a distraction to an actual hack taking place somewhere else. As Zetter wrote, “Hackers who targeted the UK telecom TalkTalk last year used a DDoS attack as a smokescreen while they siphoned data on 4 million of the company’s customers.”

Yeah. Holy crap.

While for Battlefield 1 beta users, this is nothing more than a pain the the digital balls, it does raise a few concerns as to what may have happened somewhere else, while we were all flipping out over beta access. Only time and security sweeps will tell us the full story, but as for now, especially if you’ve got any information tied into EA or PlayStation’s servers, to keep an eye on your accounts to make sure nothing funny is going on.

Devon McCarty hasn’t seen anything weird on his accounts yet. Have questions for Devon?   You can hit him up on the Watch. Chat. Play! Facebook page , chat to Devon @DesignatedDevon, but don’t for one second think I don’t want you to drop some sweet love in the comment section below. And note that Analog Addiction doesn’t always reflect the views/humor of the Watch. Chat. Play! staff. No matter how funny they think they are.


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