In the past two weeks or so, we have experienced as many as half a dozen DDoS Attacks led by hacker groups. The victims were PSN, Xbox Live, EA, Destiny, Rockstar Games, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, World of Warcraft and some more – but that is not important.
What is important here is the logic behind these attacks. Groups like Lizard Squad and Derp primarily claim that the attacks are basically their response to money hungry companies. They say that these things should be taken as warnings against their exploitive policies. So how do we balance what they are doing in terms of right and wrong?
Indeed there are organizations who work only to earn; but isn’t that what the definition of a business is? The guys who make these massive game franchises aren’t doing it for public welfare right? They are there to earn and attacking them for that doesn’t really make sense.
The effects of a DDoS attack can be severe for the company at the receiving end. They are bound to lose a lot of revenue, their reputation goes at stake and both of those things have a huge potential of dampening their potential growth in the future.
On the flipside, there also needs to be a line that should not be crossed. Gamers are really passionate about what they do and they would go further than a non-gamer would go to get what they need; but that doesn’t mean companies can exploit their passion to fill their own bags whether it is justified or not.
However, there are other reasons for these attacks too. Some of the cases have simply been a result of the vulnerability of the servers where anyone who has the resources could have his fun. People have even suggested that competitive companies launch – or use hackers to launch – such attacks on each other. We have also seen people take the path of hacking as a form of agitation to how a certain game is being developed (you would remember the Minecraft DDoS back in 2010).
So do these attacks equate to hacktivism in the sense that hacktivists define their activities? If so, then why exactly are these groups sometimes claiming that they are undertaking the attacks ‘for the lulz?’
However, what the gamers have achieved so far with all these DDoS attacks in the past couple of years is disruption in doing what we love to do. Whether the companies are exploitive or not, a majority of the gamers love the franchises that are being targeted. They spend their money to have fun not to see a hacker group spoil it all whenever they want. All that is apart from the damage faced by the companies at the receiving end!
Even if we take the most noble of the reasons why the DDoS attacks are being made; have we really benefited from them in any way? Let’s say a given game is just a money making machine, or isn’t being developed how the community wanted; did the denial of service attack change that? Of course not!
In the end, it is up to us to figure out where we want to stand as the frequency of these attacks increase day by day. We know the industry is not perfect, but is hacking the perfect solution?