Last week, a group calling themselves DERP launched DDoS attacks on the servers of a number of the world's biggest games (and games companies). It seemed like an awfully big list of victims for such a simple and ancient form of attack, but as Ars Technica explain, there was a bit more to it than that.
Unlike a standard DDoS attack, which big services like Battle.net and League of Legends would have been able to defeat, the attackers used a new - and obviously incredibly effective - method.
"Rather than directly flooding the targeted services with torrents of data", Ars explains, "an attack group calling itself DERP Trolling sent much smaller sized data requests to time-synchronization servers running the Network Time Protocol (NTP). By manipulating the requests to make them appear as if they originated from one of the gaming sites, the attackers were able to vastly amplify the firepower at their disposal. A spoofed request containing eight bytes will typically result in a 468-byte response to a victim, a more than 58-fold increase."
According to "DoS-mitigation service" Black Lotus, while this sounds bad, it's easy to protect against. Though, they would say that, wouldn't they.