Players suffer massive weekend outages as PoodleCorp claim responsibility for DDoS attack
A hacking group called PoodleCorp has claimed responsibility for the massive Pokemon Go outages over the weekend.
While countless anxious Pokemon trainers failed to get online on Saturday and Sunday, PoodleCorp said on Twitter that it is behind the Team Rocket-style attack, launching a DDoS attack on Pokemon Go’s servers.
This claim has yet to be verified however, as the company behind the hit app, Niantic, blamed server overloads caused by the massive influx of new users in Europe and US.
A DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack essentially does the same thing by using swathes of computers to create server-crashing traffic.
A member of PoodleCorp, going by the name of XO, said on Twitter: “Just was a lil test, we will do something on a larger scale soon.”
PoodleCorp’s own Twitter account said that a much larger attack is planned for August 1.
Last week, the app was rolled out to new markets including Germany and the UK, after a bombshell first week in the United States. Many users have been continually complaining of problems getting onto the game as Niantic rushes to scale up its capacity to accommodate players. Pokemon Go, as of this weekend, had more than 20 million players, according to Survey Monkey.
Thomas Pore, director of IT services at Plixer, said that whatever the motives, the outages are not a good thing for Niantic.
“News of this DDOS immediately reminds me of when Lizard Squad took down XBOX Live and PSN. Initially I thought this could be motivated by amusement or even in allegiance to the conspiracy theory that Pokemon Go is a secret surveillance operation,” he said.
“Whatever the motive is, everyone involved suffers; gamers suffer from the inconvenience of the outage and the money stops streaming in to Nintendo-Niantic,” he added.
“The online gaming industry is highly susceptible to DDoS attacks due to the competitive nature of the games themselves, monetary gains or the notion that organized cybercrime syndicates can grab headlines with their successful attacks,” the spokesperson said.
“DDoS attack tools are easily procured and at low cost allowing any creative attacker the ability to cause service disruptions at a click of a mouse.”
Niantic has not immediately responded to a request for comment.
While some Redditors threw doubts on the validity of Poodlecorp’s claims, the group has been known for succesfful attacks in the past, including DDoS wars against stream.me and famous YouTuber PewPewDie.
Either way, Nintendo and Niantic will have learnt lessons from this weekend, either planning for more capacity or building better defenses against DDoS-style attacks.