DDoS attacks are nothing new, with many high-profile attacks dominating the media over the last 12 months. However, these attacks are not limited to enterprises; we have recently seen a string of DDoS attacks hitting the gaming industry. The attacks have become more frequent, particularly in the professional gaming scene where large sums of money are available, and present a fresh concern for competitive gamers as IP addresses of individual players are increasingly targeted, as well as the servers.

A recent article on SC Magazine revealed that EA’s Battlefield 4 is among the latest games to have been hit, with an attack knocking the multiplayer servers offline. For EA and the developer, DICE, this is a major inconvenience as the main selling point of the Battlefield series is its multiplayer content – the more prolonged the attack, the more damage it does to the brand. For most gamers, these attacks are a source of frustration and inconvenience.

However, in eSports (electronic sports) competitions that offer professional gamers considerable sums of money in tournaments DDoS attacks are more than just an inconvenience; they can have a significant impact on the results of a game. Earlier this year, several rounds of a popular DOTA 2 tournament had to be postponed after persistent DDoS attacks in qualifying rounds. In competitions where reactions delayed by a fraction of a second can result in failure and lost funds, slow connection can be a serious issue.

DDoS attacks are increasingly prevalent and show no signs of losing popularity with cyber criminals. Large cyber-attacks are capable of knocking out business-critical applications that generate revenue and facilitate communications, which can have severe business impacts. Organisations that depend on their online presence for survival absolutely need invest in security solutions that protect themselves, staff, customers and end-users against these attack vectors.

Whether these kinds of DDoS attacks are the work of mischief makers, sore losers or even attempts to sabotage rivals is unclear. What is clear is that defending against DDoS attacks is not just the province of private and public sector businesses. These attacks have become more prevalent and have amplified over the last year; we can expect to see a lot more of them, with even greater power, across different sectors in 2014.