If I had a nickel for every time some individual or group launched a denial of service attack against a website or service that they didn’t like, I would put those nickels in a sock and use it to beat them unconscious. I’m old enough to remember a time when DDoS attacks were much more rare and feared not only because of how much they could cost in terms of damages or fees, but because they generally had some kind of motive behind them, be it retaliation or to even hold a service ransom. These days the denial of service attack has become so simple and accessible that people in RuneScape are using it on each other to gain an edge in player killing! Players in Garry’s Mod DOS each other’s servers and call it “competition.” The Garry’s Mod official forums itself is a regular target of denial of service attacks in response to bans targeting specific cheat programs.
The rate at which denial of service attacks are becoming increasingly common is disgusting, even more so when you look at how many of them are likely breaking things for the sake of breaking things. Big name developers like Jagex are being hit in retaliation by the gold farming criminals they ban, and the past two years alone saw attacks on Eve Online, Wurm, Darkfall, Dino Storm, Dofus, Perpetuum Online, TUG, Cubeworld, and countless more. Even Extra Life was not immune to the power of a few keyboard-wielding psychopaths.
As companies like Amazon and Google jump into the fray to bring more affordable protection to websites via cloud protection and mitigation, we can only hope that they will spell the death of the denial of service attack. Until then, when the method of delivery is about as complicated as logging into the Facebook account that you’re about to DOS, you can expect to see such attacks continue to propagate.