Fortnite online servers worldwide under DDoS attack

Increasingly, cybersecurity incidents are affecting thousands, or even millions, of members of the gamer community. According to experts in ethical hacking, this weekend many fans of the popular Epic Games videogame Fortnite reported an alleged denial of service (DoS) attack against its online servers, preventing them from accessing their accounts and connecting to their matches.

Complaints about service failures began on November 9 through social media platforms, mainly Twitter. Soon after, an account allegedly operated by the hacker group known as Lizard Squad claimed the attack was their responsibility, affirming they were testing the effectiveness of Epic Games security bots: “Fortnite is offline, hopefully worldwide,” mentions one of the tweets of the alleged hackers.

Subsequently, The Lizard Squad account began posting dozens of screenshots of users reporting failures on Fortnite servers; however, the platform shows that no security incidents were detected on Fortnite online infrastructure on the aforementioned date, which has only brought more confusion for affected users, mentioned the experts in ethical hacking.

Although the company did not admitted or denied the incident, the problems continued to arise during the following hours; even prominent Fortnite users, such as the popular video game streamer known as ‘Ninja’, shared their concern about the alleged cyberattack, which occurred in the middle of a tournament: “Does Epic Games release a statement? Will these games count? What’s going on?” he posted on his Twitter account.

There are really few certainties about this incident, although unconfirmed information still appears, as mentioned by ethical hacking specialists. Finally, around 5:00 PM on 9 November, new tweets were posted in the account allegedly operated by Lizard Squad, recognizing that the Epic Games security team had surpassed them on this occasion: “We couldn’t beat these guys; goof game, Epic Games security team,” the post mentions.

It seems that everything has returned to normal, although many users remain concerned about the possibility of further hacking attempts against Fortnite servers, especially in tournament season. On the other hand, Epic Games still does not publish an official statement on the incident.

When it comes to attacks on the IT infrastructure of an online video game, the first possible perpetrator that comes to the mind of the cybersecurity community is the Lizard Squad group. According to ethical hacking specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), since its appearance about five years ago, this group specializes in attacks against online gaming platforms, such as incidents at EA Games, Destiny, Xbox Live, among others. Little is known about Lizard Squad, its members, and especially its motivations; many security experts even believe that these hackers deploy these attacks simply because they can.

Originally published at https://www.securitynewspaper.com on November 11, 2019.

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