Blizzard's Battle.net experienced another outage on Monday (20 Jun) after facing similar issues last week, leaving players unable to log in to popular games such as Overwatch, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft due to an alleged DDoS attack. Notorious hacker group Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for the latest disruption.
DDoS attacks, or Distributed Denial of Services, occur when a malicious individual or entity floods a network with fake traffic designed to cripple and take down the company's server.
Besides facing difficulties logging in, Overwatch players also reported being disconnected from matches. On Twitter, many gamers voiced their concerns about being possibly penalised in accordance with Blizzard's aggressive stance on rage quitters in the game.
The company confirmed that it was investigating "an issue affecting our authentication servers, which may result in failed or slow login attempts" through the company's official Blizzard Customer Support Twitter account.
Although the company has not mentioned a DDOS attack, a member of Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for Blizzard's server issues.
"Here we go," AppleJ4ck tweeted before the servers started experiencing authentication issues.
After facing a wave of backlash from annoyed gamers, AppleJ4ck taunted: "The fact that you let a couple of pixels affect your entire day is just say, in a way, I'm doing y'all a favor."
When asked about the motivation behind the attack, AppleJ4ck told IBTimes UK that Overwatch's servers were "never the target". The attack, he says, was actually directed at Blizzard's authentication servers.
"We only found out about that later during the attack," AppleJ4ck said. "For some unknown reason, Blizzard authentication servers were routed through what appears to be Overwatch servers, however, in a way that made all of Blizzard's clients to be affected including Overwatch, Legacy of the Void, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone."
Blizzard later confirmed that its server issues have been resolved. IBTimes UK has reached out to Blizzard for comment.
However, AppleJ4ck tweeted that the recent attacks are "just some tests before the main event."
While DDoS attacks are not quite the same as hacks, they are seen as frustrating threats that continue to plague major gaming companies' servers. Blizzard has experienced its share of DDoS attacks in the past, particularly against its wildly popular MMO World of Warcraft.
In April, Blizzard faced a massive DDoS attack claimed by Lizard Squad that prevented players from accessing their games. On Christmas 2014, the infamous group launched a series of big DDoS attacks against both Sony and Microsoft to cripple PlayStation Network and Xbox Live during the holiday season.
When asked about the group's motivation behind the attacks on Blizzard's servers and gaming networks in general, AppleJ4ck declined to comment.
DDoS attacks, which are difficult to prevent and defend against, have become more frequent in recent years. Arresting cybercrime groups such as Lizard Squad and squashing their online activity have also proven to be challenging for authorities, given the fact that its individual members are spread through the world.
"You can't arrest a lizard," AppleJ4ck said.