It appears that a hacking group set their sights on Blizzard last night, as the publisher is reporting that it went through a chain of DDoS attacks to make it through the night.
Last night, folks playing games like World of Warcraft, Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm found themselves suddenly unable to log onto Blizzard servers. Blizzard quickly announced that the issues were due to a DDoS attack, one that took about two hours to work through.
When the waters finally calmed, Blizzard took to Twitter with the following message.
A distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), in short, is a concentrated effort to flood a network in order to bring it down. In other words, the whole point of last night's rampage against Blizzard was to make it so folks could not play their games. Sony and Microsoft undergo similar attacks on a regular basis and are especially prone to such attacks during the holidays.
While many of these hacking groups claim that the attacks target developers/publishers they feel have done wrong and are in need of some sort of retaliation, the major result of a DDoS attack is that players aren't able to enjoy their games. Sure, servers being down can cost the intended target, but we're not talking about a substantial amount and, more than anything, these kinds of attacks have a much bigger negative impact on the players who just want to get in some gaming.
For this most recent attack on Blizzard, their servers came down just after 9:30 p.m. ET. By about 11:45 p.m., Blizzard sent out the above tweet giving gamers the all clear to jump back online. Over on the Blizzard forums, moderators warn that lingering affects may make it difficult for people to log in for the time being, or service interruptions may occur that affects gameplay.
The only “negative” news coming out of Blizzard lately was the recent closure of the unauthorized Nostalrius legacy server in World of Warcraft. It was a server that was being illegally run and Blizzard had every right to finally put the kibosh on that. This is only speculation, but we're guessing that said closure had something to do with these attacks. Maybe the hacking group felt their fellow gamers were being wronged (they weren't) and this was their grand form of retaliation. Again, the result was that they made it impossible for far more gamers to enjoy their hobby, so we fail to see the point in this nonsense.