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Nexusguard research reveals 77% of cyberattacks in Q320 targeted gamers

Nexusguard, a cloud-based distributed denial of service (DDoS) security solutions provider has recently released its “Q3 2020 Threat Report,” detailing an increase in DDoS attacks by 287% in the third quarter of 2020. This is in comparison to the same period in 2019. The increase is largely attributed to a significant rise in online gaming exacerbated by pandemic measures, which attracted attention from attackers.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of cyber attacks targeted the online gaming and gambling industries in Q3 2020. More than a third of these entertainment attacks focused on online gaming targets. Online gaming platforms’ sensitivity to latency and availability issues makes them ideal DDoS attack targets, and the online gaming environment is target-rich for perpetrators to capitalize during the pandemic.

Lockdowns and social distancing measures enforced during the pandemic have resulted in home entertainment, online gaming, in particular, to soar, while cinemas, bars, and other usual entertainment venues largely remained closed. Gamers have become an irresistible target for attackers, particularly because they are emotionally engaged, socially active, and often spend disposable income on their gaming accounts.

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Although online gaming is highly sensitive to latency and packet loss, Nexusguard researchers warn sensitive detection and high-capacity mitigation alone are insufficient to overcome large DDoS attacks. Gaming enterprises and service providers must collaborate to combat attack tactics through a combination of technology, knowledge sharing, and best security practices.

“Online gaming is snowballing in part due to the growth of cloud computing as well as the limited options for home entertainment during the pandemic, providing cyber attackers with a wide population of targets to exploit,” said Juniman Kasman, chief technology officer of Nexusguard. “Game service providers, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and other organizations should take steps to safeguard service, including segregating applications to minimize collateral damage or rehearsing incident response drills to reduce service disruption during attacks.”

With regard to online gaming, 99.5% of cyber threats in Q3 2020 were large-scale attacks, overwhelming systems with high volumes of malicious traffic. The majority of these cases (99.4%) were single vector attacks where perpetrators occupy all bandwidth within a game server. In turn, this causes gamers to experience disruptions, resulting in their migration to alternative servers with faster and more stable connectivity.

Nexusguard’s DDoS threat research reports on attack data from botnet scanning, honeypots, and traffic moving between attackers and their targets to help companies identify vulnerabilities and stay informed about global cybersecurity trends.