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Nexusguard Study: Online Gaming is a Hotbed for DDoS Attacks

The increase in online gaming attracted attention from attackers, resulting in nearly 77% of cyber attacks targeting online gaming and gambling industries in Q3 2020, according to the Nexusguard Q3 2020 Threat Report. More than a third of these entertainment attacks focused on online gaming targets.

Nexusguard analysts also reported a 287% increase in total DDoS attacks in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. Online gaming platforms’ sensitivity to latency and availability issues makes them ideal DDoS attack targets, and the online gaming environment would be target-rich for perpetrators to capitalize during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lockdown and social distancing measures enforced during the pandemic caused engagement in home entertainment – online gaming, in particular – to soar while cinemas, bars and other usual entertainment venues remained closed.

Gamers have become an irresistible target for attackers, according to the Nexusguard market report, particularly because they are emotionally engaged, socially active, and often spend disposable income on their gaming accounts.

Combat Attack Tactics
“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 (CTO) for Nexusguard.

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 (CTO) for Nexusguard. “Game 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.”

Game Server Hosts
With regard to online gaming, 99.5% of cyber attacks were volumetric in nature, with 99.4% of attacks consisting of single vector attacks. Perpetrators would aim to consume all bandwidth so that gamers suffer the side effects of latency and then switch to game server hosts with faster and more stable connectivity.

Founded in 2008, Nexusguard is a leading cloud-based distributed denial of service (DDoS) security solution provider fighting malicious Internet attacks. Nexusguard’s DDoS threat research reports on attack data from botnet scanning, honeypots, CSPs and traffic moving between attackers and their targets to help companies identify vulnerabilities and stay informed about global cyber security trends.