DDOS Attack on Online Gaming Site Knocks Sweden Offline

December 12th, 2014 | by Kaycee James
Telia logo, Sweden ISP

Online poker players were out of the game as Telia, the Swedish Internet service provider which was crippled by a DDOS attack that targeted one of its customers, was knocked offline. (Image: Telia)

Online poker players were out of luck as a massive DDOS attack on an unnamed Internet gaming site knocked most of Sweden offline this week.

The attack, the scale of which has seldom been seen before, crippled Sweden’s largest Internet service provider, Telia, for 45 minutes on Tuesday, and then again sporadically throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening, knocking out fixed-line broadband, digital TV, and VoIP connections.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, the company at first believed it was the primary target before realizing that one of its customers, the internet gaming company, was actually the object of an attack so fierce that it was overloading the entire Telia operation.

“We can conclude that it was a DDOS attack and that we were not the primary goal,” said the statement. “The reason that this could happen was that we are the supplier of the Internet for the gaming company that was under attack …

From now on we should be able to withstand other potential attacks more successfully. Our main focus is to investigate this thoroughly and look at future measures to prevent it from happening again.”

Sweden Not Working

The online gaming industry and online businesses in general have long been targets for DDOS, or distributed denial of service, attacks, in which hackers flood the bandwidth of an internet site rendering it temporarily nonoperational.

However this is the first time that an intended attack on a single company has been powerful enough to take out that company’s ISP.

Speaking at an Ericsson event in Stockholm, CEO of Telia Johan Dennelind confirmed that the attack left “Sweden not working”.

“It really shows the vulnerability of our era,” he told ZDNet. “We haven’t seen an attack on that type of scale before.”

Who was Responsible?

According to Swedish news agency TT a group called LizardSquad was behind the attack. This was the same group that last week claimed responsibility for an attack on the Sony PlayStation network and has previously targeted Xbox Live.

LizardSquad claimed this week on Twitter that it had shut down the website of American video games company Electronic Arts, which owns DICE, a Swedish software developer, best known for the Battlefield Series and Mirror’s Edge.

It seems likely, then, that the “unnamed internet gaming company” is not a gambling company at all, but a video gaming company.

However, it is believed that Carbon Poker has been the target of recent DDOS attacks. Posters on the TwoPlusTwo forums have expressed deep concerns that disruption to the games last weekend were caused by a DDOS attack by a player with the screen name “L4ss3m4jj4n.”

It’s believed that L4ss3m4jj4n may be waiting to build up big pots before min-raising and crippling the servers, resulting in his opponents becoming frozen out of the game. Carbon Poker has yet to release a statement confirming or denying whether there is any truth behind the suspicion.

Sweden’s gaming policies have been much in the news of late, between government-run Svenska Spel‘s Internet monopoly, and WSOP Main Event 2014 winner Martin Jacobson.

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