Have you ever been in the middle of an online gaming session, when all of a sudden, your connection dropped?
Of course, this usually tends to happen at the worst time ever, such as right in the middle of an extremely intense one on one battle, and then out of nowhere, your ping spikes and it’s game over.
If any of this sounds familiar, you’ve likely witnessed a DDoS attack.
Fans of online gaming have all likely heard of DDoS attacks, however, many aren’t exactly sure what they are.
We’ve recently been seeing an increase in this type of cyber-attack, which is mostly because cybercriminals have access to strong, simple to use online technologies. And as a consequence, it’s become easier than ever for them to launch DDoS attacks targeted at gamers.
In the following article, we’re going to explain what DDoS attacks are, as well as the steps you can take to protect yourself while gaming, such as connecting to the internet by using one of the best VPN services available.
What are DDoS Attacks?
During a traditional DoS, or Denial of Service attack, an unwanted amount of traffic is sent to a targeted IP address or server in order to overwhelm it and cause it to crash. This usually has the effect of taking an entire network down or in the very least, causing a massive slow down that will affect all of its users.
However, since a single connection isn’t likely going to be capable of sending enough data to its target, cyber-attackers typically use DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks to take down websites or gaming servers.
For this type of attack, hackers or criminals will use a large number of computers to flood the targeted server, which ensures that an adequate amount of data is being sent to overwhelm its servers and cause the network to crash.
This is usually achieved by using a botnet, which is a group of computers or devices linked together that have been infected with malware allowing the attacker to generate network data from the device, most often without the device’s owner even being aware of it.
Learn more about botnets here.
When a DDoS attack is targeted at a gaming server, the game will become unavailable to anyone who tries to play it.
How to Avoid DDOS Attacks When Gaming
Fortunately, there are several ways that you can protect yourself against DDoS attacks. Below, you’ll find the three most commonly used methods to avoid a DDoS when gaming.
Although antivirus software or firewalls aren’t able to stop a truly determine cyber-attacker, they are still an extremely effective first-line of defence against IP detection. These types of software can also keep you safe from getting caught up in a DDoS attack directed at any gaming servers you may be connected to.
Furthermore, using an antivirus application and a robust firewall will also ensure that your computer or device won’t become infected by any malware which could turn it into a member of a botnet without you even knowing it.
With that being said, always ensure that you’re running a firewall and antivirus software on all your computers and devices, and don’t forget to update them regularly to ensure they’re capable of protecting you against the latest threats.
Upgrading Your Home Network
If you’ve recently been provided with network hardware from your ISP, chances are that it has been updated and is secure. However, for those who’ve purchased their hardware themselves or have been using the same hardware for several years, it might be time for an upgrade.
There are many routers and network hardware that come with inbuilt safeguards to protect against distributed denials of service (DDoS) and other types of network attacks.
In other words, these devices are capable of automatically blocking large bursts of network traffic, especially when it’s coming from multiple sources, which usually indicates a DDoS botnet.
Just keep in mind that advanced network security will sometimes have a negative impact on your internet speed and can affect your game playing capabilities. Therefore, it’s best to consider upgrading your hardware as a last resort, unless it is already significantly outdated.
Use a Virtual Private Network
Essentially, using a virtual private network, or VPN, masks your IP address, making it impossible for anyone else to see you or any of your online activity.
When using a VPN, your device’s data is routed through the provider’s secure network before making its way to the world wide web. So, to a cyber-attacker using an IP detection tool, your IP address will appear as the VPN’s IP address.
Learn more about the benefits of using a VPN service for gaming.
Therefore, a DDoS attack would hit your VPN’s server before it would ever be able to affect your home’s Wi-Fi network.