Can VPN Prevent DDOS Attack while Gaming

By Hannah Smith , Updated Jul 08, 2019 02:53 PM EDT
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Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of a heated online gaming match and suddenly running into lag that's through the roof. Esports and professional streamers are particularly at risk of being negatively impacted by DDOS attacks since that impacts their ability to do their jobs.

However, it's annoying and disruptive no matter whether someone is a casual or professional gamer. Hackers may use these attacks to prevent people from winning matches, to steal their items and in-game currency, and to get an upper hand in encounters. Virtual Private Network, or VPN, technology helps to protect against DDOS attacks in several ways.

What is a DDOS Attack?

A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack uses multiple devices to flood a destination with internet traffic. Typically, an attacker uses a network of malware-infected or otherwise compromised computers and smart devices to send requests to a person, business or network. The sheer volume of requests overwhelms the infrastructure and will either cause it to be unusually slow or crash it entirely. It may take hours or days for the systems to recover from this type of attack. The attacker needs a person's IP address to be able to properly target them.

What is a VPN?

A VPN service takes a person's Internet traffic and routes it through their own servers. They have many servers available that are typically spread throughout the world, which allows users to pick and choose the ones that fit their needs at the time. VPN services focus on protecting the anonymity of the user and the privacy of their online activities. They accomplish this by making it possible to get around blocked online resources so that everyone can access an open, uncensored Internet. Both premium and free VPN services are available, with varying features available on each. Some specialize in certain areas, such as fast speeds, high security, or P2P traffic.

How Does a VPN Protect Against DDOS Attacks During Gaming Sessions?

 

Hidden IP Address

The best protection against DDOS attacks is the basic functionality of all VPN services. The user's IP address is hidden because their traffic goes through the VPN server prior to reaching any public internet resources. It would be difficult for a hacker to get this information from the VPN provider or to circumvent the protection.

No Log Policies

If an attacker tries to get the user's IP address information directly from the VPN service provider, they're in for a challenge. Many VPN services have a "No Logs" policy, which means that they don't keep information about the people using their services. Since this information isn't kept on file, it doesn't matter if a hacker breaks in. They don't have any access to useful resources that would reveal the target IP address.

Malware Protection

VPN service for gaming will often have malware and virus protection built into the experience. By stopping a user's computer from being compromised, that also prevents the gamer's system from being used in a DDOS attack against another person.

Leak Protection

Leak protection is a feature that has safeguards in place to add more protection against someone accessing the gamer's IP address.

Multihop

It becomes more difficult to find the original IP address when it's routed through more than one server. Multihop allows people to route through multiple servers to add to their privacy and protection.

Strong Encryption

All of the data that goes through the VPN servers is encrypted with strong security protocols. This is another way that stops hackers from getting actionable information even if they hack the VPN service or intercept the traffic. They won't have the encryption key, so they won't be able to decipher the data.

Automatic Filtering of DDOS Attacks

VPN services also have advanced protection against DDOS attacks on their infrastructure. After all, their entire business model revolves around keeping servers online for people to connect to them, so it's in their best interest to put these measures in place.

Hundreds of Thousands of Servers for Failovers

If one VPN server goes down in a DDOS attack, it's a simple process of moving to a different one. When a VPN has hundreds or thousands of servers, the hacker will have a hard time overwhelming all of those resources.

Other Steps to Protecting Against DDOS Attacks

The gamer can follow several cybersecurity best practices on their end to decrease the chances of becoming the victim of a DDOS attack.

Never Accept Unknown Voice/Video Call Requests

Some video and voice messaging programs reveal the user's IP address to other participants in the call. This can put the gamer at risk of being attacked.

Get Routers with Built-in DDOS Protection

Some routers have DDOS protection built-in, which filters out the traffic automatically before it goes any further. Even if a hacker somehow got around the VPN to discover the IP address and launched the attack, this type of feature stops it from having an impact.

Use Strong Home Computer Security Measures

General cybersecurity best practices, such as keeping operating systems and software up to date, and adding in a malware and antivirus protection program, can eliminate any attacks that go after low-hanging fruit. Change passwords on a regular basis, especially if a username and password combination has been compromised in the past.

Go With an ISP With DDOS Protection

Some Internet Service Providers are better than others when it comes to DDOS protection. Look for companies that have a good track record of staying online when they're under attack.

The right VPN service for DDOS protection for gamers is one that has all of the features listed earlier in the article and that offers plenty of speed and unlimited data as part of the plan. This combination is the perfect match for gamers who need a high-performance VPN that also protects them from being dropped out of online matches or losing connection to their Internet at critical times of their gaming sessions. DDOS attacks are frustrating to deal with, but they're not impossible to protect against.

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