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Man jailed for 27 months following DoS attacks on gaming servers

A man was sentenced to 27 months in prison earlier this week for instigating a series of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks against a number of gaming companies, including Daybreak Games. The 23-year-old man from Utah, USA, entered a guilty plea agreement to the crime of “damage to a protected computer” and was instructed to pay $95,000 compensation to Daybreak.

As described by a press release from the Department of Justice (thanks, GI.biz), a DoS attack occurs “when legitimate users are unable to access information systems, devices, or other network resources due to the actions of a malicious cyber threat actor”. Flooding the targeted host with traffic it cannot handle, the attacks usually prevent legitimate access to online services, including game servers.

Thompson’s attacks throughout December 2013 and January 2014 were chiefly all directed at online gaming companies. Announcing the attacks via the Twitter account of a hacking group, Thompson would then take targets such as Blizzard’s Battle.net and League of Legends down “often for hours at a time”. 

“Denial-of-service attacks cost businesses and individuals millions of dollars annually,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “We are committed to prosecuting hackers who intentionally disrupt internet access.” 

Square Enix was recently forced to manage a similar threat when the early access launch of Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion, Shadowbringers, went live last week. A significant DDoS attack on its North American servers caused “extended waiting times” for players trying to access the new content, as well as difficulty sending/receiving server data.  Square Enix promised it would continue “to monitor the situation” and plans to “work with ISPs to implement countermeasures”.

Daybreak Game Company recently took over the development of Z1 Battle Royale after NantG Mobile relinquished the project saying there were “many challenges that preclude [it] from long-term success”. In a statement on Steam, NantG Mobile said that while it had been “working feverishly on rebranding Z1 Battle Royale and reverting the game back to its glory days”, the challenges and “confusion” of having two studios developing the “same game under two separate brands” were too great.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond.

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