Gamers who have been celebrating the first weekend of the new year playing connected games suddenly found reason to become disappointed as various DDoS attacks brought several online services down over the weekend.

Privacy and Security Game services fall prey to DDoS attacks over the new year

Connected gaming has been part of the gaming experience on PC, mobile and even console gaming systems, offering multiplayer support, real-time communication, leaderboards and updates. In the first weekend of the year, however, several online gaming services fell victim to multiple distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which were launched by several groups and for a variety of reasons.

Digital gaming service Steam was down over Friday for at least an hour, and two Twitter users claimed responsibility for the attack. The same individuals claimed responsibility for a similar attack on Battle.net, the login service used by Blizzard in its games like World of Warcraft.

A parallel, although reportedly unrelated, set of attacks also brought down Electronic Arts’ Origin service, which was on-again, off-again for a period of 24 hours. This particular attack has been coordinated by a group or entity called DerpTrolling. Although no motive was stated, observers have speculated that this could be related to a personal vendetta attack on popular YouTube game streamer James Varga, known on YouTube as PhantomL0rd.

Varga, who earns from ad and subscription revenue from his game streaming channel, has reportedly egged on the DerpTrolling team for recent DDoS attacks on game servers over New Year’s Eve, challenging them — perhaps in jest — to attack during his live stream. “If my team is winning, we’ll keep going. If my team starts to lose, Derp Bros, take this s*** down!”

DDoS attacks on game servers are not entirely a new thing, although what differs is usually the intent of the attacking party. In this case, there are speculations that the latest attacks were of personal nature against Varga, who previously complained of being harassed by hackers to the extent of these parties pulling a “swatting attack”, calling 9-1-1 and claiming Varga had been holding hostages at his home. Varga was supposedly briefly detained while authorities searched his residence, but released shortly afterward.

Others believe that the DDoS attacks were done merely as pranks, although the effects and implications to the gaming community and industry may be considered serious.

Source: Naked Security