Denial of service attacks

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunday I got home to find services to online game services had been shut down due to a denial of service attack.

After trying to log in to play an online game with friends, I find it won’t connect. After a few tries the console tells me the network is down for maintenance.

Not a big problem, there are plenty of other ways to find entertainment, but out of curiosity I load up the computer to do a bit of research.

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Turns out a group of hackers decided it would be the best use of their time to set up a denial of service attack on the servers of Playstation and Xbox, and additionally post on Twitter that the plane that the president of Sony Online Entertainment was in carried a bomb. There was no bomb, it was a scare tactic.

What is a denial of service attack you ask?

Basically, think of a phone switchboard, which can only accept so many calls at one time. If too many calls come in, the system rejects the additional load, and you can’t connect your call.

Same thing applies to online services. Typically computer servers keep up with demand. But sometimes demand is more than the servers can handle, and you get an error message instead of the page or online service you tried to connect to.

A denial of service attack is essentially automated once the hackers set it forth. 

In essence, they task a group of computers to all try to log into the page or service at once, causing it to crash.

I think this group, which I won’t name just because that’s what they want, wasted valuable time in their lives to initiate this attack. 

Just like the time I intended to waste playing video games. 

That’s ok, instead of an online game, I played The Last of Us instead.