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How to protect yourself from getting DDoSed in gaming ft. Surfshark

Elizbar Ramazashvili
10 min

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How to protect yourself from getting DDoSed in gaming ft. Surfshark
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Picture this scenario: you find yourself comfortably seated at home in your gaming chair, enjoying a soothing cup of tea or any preferred beverage. Glancing at your monitor, you're faced with an array of fighters, each waiting to be selected as the chosen one, the lone warrior who, at your behest, will engage in a fierce battle against opponents under your command. Your grip tightens on the gamepad as you prepare for an online fighting session. Within moments, you're matched with an opponent, and everything seems promising with a stable connection and a well-functioning game netcode. As you and your opponent face off, unexpectedly, the game freezes, and you receive a frustrating connection error. Not only that, but your entire internet connection comes to a halt. In this unfortunate event, it appears that you have fallen victim to a DDoS attack.

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To grasp the significance of DDoS in gaming, it's essential first to comprehend its general meaning. DDoS stands for Distributed Denial-of-Service, and these attacks aim to disrupt the functioning of servers utilized by both companies and individuals. Perpetrators execute DDoS attacks by inundating the targeted network with an extremely high volume of requests, effectively rendering it nearly unusable until the attack subsides. It's important to note that such actions are considered highly illegal in the majority of countries. The US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act explicitly addresses the severity of these attacks:

"DDoS attacks are illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Starting a DDoS attack against a network without permission is going to cost you up to 10 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine. Mar 29, 2020."

While DDoS attacks may not pose a direct security risk in the traditional sense, they can certainly be highly detrimental. The targeted user experiences a complete disruption of internet services, rendering them unable to use online resources effectively. Individuals whose IP addresses have been exposed are particularly vulnerable to becoming targets of such attacks. However, it's worth noting that these attacks are generally more frequently directed at organizations and services rather than ordinary individuals. Despite not directly compromising security, the severity of damage caused by DDoS attacks underscores the importance of safeguarding against them for both businesses and individuals alike.

In the context of gaming, a DDoS attack takes on a different meaning and purpose. It involves deliberately targeting an opponent's team in group games or individual players in fighting games with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage and securing a victory at any cost. Those orchestrating such attacks often seek to maintain a ranking or skill level that exceeds their actual abilities, resorting to unlawful methods like DDoS attacks to achieve their goals.

It is crucial to emphasize that engaging in DDoS attacks, or any form of hacking or cheating in gaming, is a criminal act and is strictly prohibited. These actions not only disrupt the gaming experience for others but also violate the terms of service of gaming platforms and can result in severe consequences, including legal actions, account bans, and loss of reputation within the gaming community.

In the world of gaming, fair play and sportsmanship are essential for creating a positive and enjoyable environment for all players. Using DDoS attacks or any other illicit means to gain an advantage goes against the principles of fair competition and should be condemned.

To gain a deeper understanding of DDoS in gaming, it's essential to grasp how these attacks function. Many popular games, such as Mortal Kombat 11 and Guilty Gear -STRIVE-boast excellent netcode, providing players with stable connections and smooth gameplay experiences. However, even with a reliable netcode, it doesn't guarantee immunity from DDoS attacks.

In reality, a DDoS attack involves bombarding a user's entire network with an overwhelming number of requests, effectively causing congestion and disrupting all connections. This barrage of requests floods the network infrastructure, making it nearly impossible for legitimate data to pass through smoothly. As a result, the victim's gaming experience is severely hindered, and they may be unable to continue playing or even access other internet services during the attack.

Numerous popular games, such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch 2, and Dota 2, operate on dedicated servers that all match participants connect to. These servers come equipped with much more advanced defense options compared to what an ordinary player can access. Conversely, fighting games typically employ a peer-to-peer approach, where you and your opponent establish a direct connection. Acquiring the IP address of an ongoing match is not overly complex for those knowledgeable in the matter. Some wrongdoers attempt to lure their potential victims into voice chats, and various widely-used VoIP services inadvertently reveal users' IP addresses, leaving them vulnerable to DDoS attacks that can severely disrupt their internet connection.

The matter has become so pervasive that NRS had to intervene and issue a statement regarding the malicious activities occurring within MK's Kombat League.

“We are aware of numerous DDOS attacks perpetrated by a certain player in the Kombat League. We intend to make use of all options available to us to address this situation. Thank you for your patience!”

A well-known community figure Stephen "Sajam" Lyon, talked about his experience being DDoSed during his Kombat League grind back in 2019.

“I went online to play a little bit of Kombat League. I was on PC, and to be honest with you, I thought the PC version was relatively safe, and I don’t have to worry about some weird connections and anything like that. I was wrong.”

DDoS attacks in gaming can occur regardless of whether you're playing on a PC or a console, effectively disrupting your entire connection. Nevertheless, there are methods to counteract such attacks.

The primary and crucial recommendation is to take measures to prevent your IP address from being disclosed to anyone, although this may be challenging in certain situations. In such cases, a viable solution is to use a robust VPN with strong security features to safeguard your connection. By employing a reputable VPN, you can enhance your protection against potential DDoS attacks and enjoy a more secure gaming experience.

Utilizing a VPN service effectively conceals your IP address, making it appear as if the attackers are targeting the VPN server instead. VPNs typically possess better defenses against such attacks, providing an added layer of protection. Although VPN usage is more straightforward on PC, you can extend this safeguard to your gaming consoles and other devices connected to the same network by installing the VPN service directly on your router.

However, exercising caution is essential, and it's recommended to opt for trusted and reputable VPN providers. Some unscrupulous companies may engage in selling users' IP addresses and logs to third-party buyers, compromising the very security you seek to achieve. By choosing a reliable VPN service, you can ensure the confidentiality of your information and enjoy a safer online experience.

There are lots of good VPN services on the market. For example, a service like SurfShark, that offers you a deal at -82%, utilizes a WireGuard default protocol on all their apps. In regular language, this means that you will have high connection speeds without any privacy tradeoffs. They also offer OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols, if you prefer. A single account will allow you to secure up to an unlimited number of devices and is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and Android TV. The company is known to record no logs, and has additional quality features like a kill switch, private DNS & leak protection.

By following this link, you can secure Surfshark's exceptional two-year VPN deal at an impressive 82% discount, which also includes two extra months. This represents the ultimate cost-effective offer for accessing a top-tier VPN service.

We hope that we managed to convey the DDoS meaning in gaming to you, alongside the importance of protecting yourself against such nefarious activities. Stay safe on the internet, and have fun playing fighting games online!

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