What does "DDoS" mean in gaming? Explained


What does DDoS stand for?

'DDoS' is an acronym for “Distributed Denial of Service”, which is a type of internet attack used to disrupt online services.

It can be used formally in gaming, to describe a server or tournament that is being targeted by an actual DDoS attack, or it can be used informally to refer to someone who is lagging out or experiencing connection issues.

What happens in a DDoS attack?

When someone tries to connect to a website or online service, their device requests information that’s needed to connect to the server. In a normal quantity these won’t buckle a server unless it’s experiencing a high level of traffic. But an attacker can exploit this by using a large number of devices in various locations to overwhelm a server with connection requests and cause it to slow down or go offline completely.

How can a DDoS attack affect me in-game?

It’d be very unlikely for you to be targeted with a DDoS attack yourself while playing an online game. It’s more likely (though still rare) that the games you play will be the target of an attack since they’re much higher profile.

Attackers tend to disrupt service providers, like AWS and Cloudflare, as many companies use these platforms to power their own networks. If the service provider of your favorite game is being targeted for any reason, then it might make the game run poorly or even cripple its online functionality for a few days, depending on how severe the situation is.

How are DDoS attacks prevented?

If a security vulnerability is identified, a company will work quickly to resolve it to reduce the downtime that the consumer or player—that’s you—experiences in their service. They’ll also have lots of preventative measures in place to reduce the impact of cyber attacks, such as enforcing time-outs on any connections that are sending too many requests too quickly.

So while gamers can certainly feel the effect of DDoS and other online service attacks, the impact to individual players is typically very minor. If your favorite game is down at the moment then we can assure you that the developers are working flat out to restore it.