Just hours after Amazon announced a $970m deal to acquire Twitch, the live video platform for gamers was taken offline temporarily by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Twitch is the latest in a string of online gaming platforms to be hit by DDoS attacks that have been linked to several groups, including Lizzard Squad, jihadist group Islamic State, and Anonymous.
At the weekend, Sony’s PlayStation Network was knocked offline and several others experienced disruptions, including Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Blizzard’s Battle.net.
DDoS attacks are commonly used by competitors or activists to take services offline using a variety of techniques that make services impossible to reach.
The reason for the DDoS attack on Twitch is unknown, but industry pundits have speculated that it may be linked to concerns about the acquisition by Amazon.
Commenting on the weekend disruptions, Dave Larson, CTO at Corero Network Security, said the drivers for launching DDoS attacks are far ranging and difficult to pinpoint in many cases.
“Anyone can become a victim at any time and, as the attacks continue to become stronger, longer and more sophisticated, businesses that rely on their online web applications as a revenue source cannot become complacent,” he said.
Larson said the latest DDoS attacks underscore the importance of including a DDoS first line of defence as a component of network security architecture.
Lancope chief technology officer TK Keanini said that while DDoS was once a resource held by a few of the elite groups on the net, this method of attack is now available to anyone as it is offered as a service.
“If you know where to look, and you have some crypto currency in hand, just point and shoot,” he said.
According to Keanini, any business connected to the internet is likely to be targeted by a DDoS attack at some point.
“But game networks have to work harder than most to remain secure as they are incredibly attractive targets.
“Not only are they high profile, with any disruption making the news, but given all the in-game commerce, credit card and personal information is kept up to date and can be monetised by these cyber criminals,” he said.