Albion Online emerges this week extremely battered and bruised after a prolonged series of DDOS attacks against the game and even demands for ransom payments by the perpetrators to make it stop.
Hopefully it’s in the past now as the studio has taken steps to shore up the game’s defenses. For players who found themselves bereft of a game experience, Albion Online is gifting some extra subscription time as compensation. All players who have been subbed between July 17th and August 11th will get an extra week of game time credited to their account (this is on top of an additional week of subscription gifted for launch issues).
“Properly defending against well-executed DDOS attacks is a very challenging task, and far harder than a quick Google search might suggest,” the team posted. “In close collaboration with leading experts in the field, we are making significant progress. Recent attacks have impacted the server’s performance, but generally were not successful in bringing it down. Our defenses are constantly being optimized and fine-tuned. Having said that, we are not in a position to give the ‘all clear’ just yet.”
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Albion Online.
As we’ve been reporting, the newbie sandbox has been absolutely plagued by a long series of nasty DDOS attacks since at least early last weekend, causing repeated server outages and extreme frustrations that have continued into today. Developer Sandbox Interactive has characterized the outages as the “result of a concerted effort to bring Albion Online down with a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS),” which the developers believe is retaliation for their actions against goldsellers who swarmed the game at launch. The RMT company or companies also reportedly served the studio ransom demands, but the studio declared it will not give into blackmail.
In the meantime, the servers are still up and down like a seesaw; the latest DDOS began less than an hour ago, and while Sandbox has already apologized (repeatedly) and told its fans it’s consulting with experts and working on defensive infrastructure, players have begun questioning the developers’ ability to solve the problems – some even questioned the DDOS and blackmail attempts themselves.
I’ve more than once joked with our writers and readers that Massively OP is not an uptime monitor, but we’re making a special exception for the beleaguered Albion Online this week. As we’ve previously reported, the newbie sandbox has been suffering a series of nasty DDOS attacks since early last weekend, causing repeated server outages and extreme frustrations that have continued into today.
Sandbox Interactive has characterized the outages as the “result of a concerted effort to bring Albion Online down with a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS),” which the developers believe is retaliation for their actions against goldsellers plaguing the game. Furthermore, as we noted yesterday, Sandbox says that it’s been served with a ransom demand from the attackers, which the studio characterized as a “blackmail” attempt for money that it will not give into.
“It goes without saying that we will never give in to them. As every black mailer will know, it’s the worst thing you could ever do. Of course, every blackmail attempt and DDOS attack is being reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies, too, though realistically the chance to catch somebody is quite slim. Having said that, sometimes it does happen, and if it does, we will pursue every case to the fullest extend possible, no matter where the offender is based – above activities are a crime in every jurisdiction in the world and it’s always possible to find a local law firm to represent you.”
A series of DDOS attacks on Final Fantasy XIV
this summer kicked Square Enix
into high gear to defend itself. As the studio seems to have gotten a handle on the situation, it provided an article
to explain the situation and how the studio handled it. Long story short, situation normal, how are you?
Square Enix said that the attackers shifted from targeting game servers to upper-tier ISP. By partnering with these providers, defenses against the attacks were bolstered. The studio warns that it might not be out of the woods: “This implementation has already been effective; however, there is the possibility that the attacks could occur again. Therefore, we will seek to strengthen our cooperation with the upper-tier ISPs and continue observing our defenses.”
As players breathe a sigh of relief, they can turn their attention to the upcoming Patch 4.05 this Tuesday. This update will add The Lost Canals of Uznair, a hidden dungeon that contains both monsters and treasures. The team posted a sneak peek of some of the sights and said that new music will accompany the instance.
Is there any better time for DDoS attacks than right after the launch of a new expansion? Apparently not; Final Fantasy XIV
reports today that it has been getting hit with attacks for several days now
, causing network difficulties that the engineers are working as hard as possible to counteract. The official announcement is that the attacks have hit on June 16th, June 18th, and June 20th, with the attacks considered to still be ongoing.
This may account for some of the game’s server issues over the past few days; countermeasures are still being worked on. The game has also had a minor patch to address other technical issues and bugs, so players should have a better Stormblood experience waiting once they log on if the DDoS attacks don’t make it unplayable. (And if they get through the queues, but that’s just to be expected.)
Ever hear that expression, “His name is mud?” It applies on every level to the incarceration of one Adam Mudd this week, who received two years of jail time in the U.K. for his hacks and attacks on Minecraft and RuneScape.
When he was 16, Mudd created a distributed denial of service (DDoS) program called Titanium Stresser that he then sold to other hackers to the tune of nearly a half-million dollars. Hackers then used Mudd’s program to perform 1.7 million DDoS attacks on games like RuneScape, programs like TeamSpeak, and other Sony and Microsoft products.
Defense for Mudd said that he had been bullied at school and was looking for online notoriety rather than financial gain. Mudd, who is now 20, was convicted of facilitating 17 million hacks, laundering money, and personally carrying out 584 DDoS attacks. He was sentenced to serve three simultaneous jail sentences (two for 24 months each and one for nine months).
APB Reloaded can’t seem to catch a break this month. Following severe lag and crashes with its console version earlier in April, yesterday the title was struck by a nasty DDOS attack that hurt both its Xbox One and PlayStation 4 performance, causing latency spikes and network outages.
“At the start of the weekend we began seeing an issue on our PS4 environment. We initially thought it was due to the recent patch or seasonal event but as time went on the issue spread to our XB1 environment as well. We have now identified the issue to be related to a new type of DDOS attack against our servers which spams our network and is causing latency and connectivity issues within the game,” the studio wrote yesterday.
The good news is that the crisis seems to be resolved as of this morning, which means that the seasonal event for the Xbox One can proceed as planned.
If you’ve been trying to get into Asheron’s Call this weekend for one last look ahead of its sunset — and failing — you’re not alone. Multiple readers and writers have confirmed for us that some of the servers have been suffering outages this weekend. Based on threads on Postcount (not safe for eyeballs, let alone work), it appears to be the work of one or more players who’ve decided to trollishly DDOS what’s left of the game and community. (We won’t be linking directly to the related threads on Reddit as the ensuing doxxing is not something we support.)
This isn’t the first time the game has suffered these kinds of player-induced outages, though it’s likely to be the last; in the fall of 2015, AC was offline for several weeks following a dupe-related server crash bug that players were exploiting for their own benefit.
players have been sallying forth in Starfall Prophecy
to combat the forces of Ahnket, Trion Worlds
has faced a much tougher fight of its own in the form of a “constant, aggressive onslaught of DDoS attacks.”
The studio posted an update on the situation to players, apologizing for the service disruption and outlining some of the measures that it has been taking to guard the game against such attacks. The good news is that this seems to be paying off.
“We’ve upgraded major components of our network infrastructure,” Trion said. “We can’t share details at depth here, but we can say that this has improved our ability to address a number of the DDoS issues. Most of you have been playing through dozens of attacks without any degradation in your play.”
Trion Worlds has been compensating RIFT players for recent server outages and instability issues.
Pokémon Go has a word of warning for those players using third-party map applications: Stop or you could be banned. Niantic said that even if players didn’t realize what they were doing was against the terms of service, these apps “can have an effect similar to DDoS attacks” on the game’s servers.
The good news is that for banned players who used these apps without realizing their impact, Niantic is lifting the punishment… for now. However, the studio said that it will continue to be vigilant in putting an end to the use of these add-on maps: “Our main priority is to provide a fair, fun, and legitimate experience for all players, so aggressive banning will continue to occur for players who engage in these kinds of activities.”
Bad news for players looking to log into World of Warcraft or Blizzard’s other online games. The studio shared that it’s been weathering DDoS attacks this evening that have caused issues with the authentication servers.
“It looks like we experienced a potential DDoS on one of our datacenters,” Blizzard posted on the forums. “Initial impact appears to have ended and our engineers put up some buffers to resolve the issue, and realms should start recovering. We’re continuing to monitor and work on mitigating the impact. Apologies for the inconvenience, and we’ll be sure to provide updates as they continue to come in.”
Valve has finally addressed Steam’s Christmas caching fiasco. In an announcement today, it explains the problem: that for 90 minutes on Christmas day, people logging into the Steam store were shown cached pages containing “sensitive personal information” from other users who were also logging into the Steam store during that same period.
“The content of these requests varied by page, but some pages included a Steam user’s billing address, the last four digits of their Steam Guard phone number, their purchase history, the last two digits of their credit card number, and/or their email address. These cached requests did not include full credit card numbers, user passwords, or enough data to allow logging in as or completing a transaction as another user.”
Those who didn’t log in during that timeblock are apparently safe. The company says it continues to work with its web caching partner to identify which accounts were affected — 34,000 in total — and will contact owners as it does so. “As no unauthorized actions were allowed on accounts beyond the viewing of cached page information,” Valve insists, “no additional action is required by users.”
A hacker group called Phantom Squad is causing headaches for online console players today.
Earlier this morning, Xbox Live came under a harsh DDOS attack that interrupted the service and made it impossible to log in for several hours before the hackers apparently stopped. The service is now performing as usual.
PlayStation Network may be next, as Phantom Squad has made threats that it will target that service as well. The hackers claim they are doing this to force the two companies to increase their cyber security.
Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network came under attack last year by Lizard Squad around the same time.