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Origin, Steam downed by alleged DDoS attacks

Origin, Steam downed by alleged DDoS attacks

Valve's Steam and EA's Origin platforms are both suffering extended downtime, allegedly the result of a tit-for-tat distributed denial of service (DDoS) war.

Digital distribution services Steam and Origin are suffering outages, claimed to be the result of two separate and opposing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on their parent companies.

Part of the growing trend away from physical media, Valve's Steam and EA's Origin services are both popular - the former for offering a wide selection of first- and third-party content on Windows, OS X and Linux and hosting frequent sales, and the latter as a mandatory part of EA's digital rights management (DRM) system without which its games cannot be played. Both, however, are currently experiencing periods of downtime - in Steam's case, awkwardly just as it launches the final leg of its winter sale.

Neither company has offered an official explanation for the outages, but both are claimed by two separate groups to be the result of DDoS attacks on the relevant servers. An individual or group calling itself DerpTrolling posted on Twitter that the Origin outage was the result of an attack using the Low-Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool favoured of Anonymous, jokily claiming that it was attacking the company at the behest of, or to gain the favour of, Valve founder Gabe Newell.

That attack appears to have resulted in retaliation, with Twitter users chFtheCat and Larceny claiming responsibility for a strike against Valve's Steam servers. From the spelling, grammar and objectionable content of Derp, chF and Larceny's Twitter streams, however, it's difficult to say whether anybody is telling the truth or simply attempting to take credit for coincidental server troubles at the respective companies.

With EA and Valve both silent on the cause of the outages, which continue to cause connection drops and login failures for users, gamers will simply have to sit tight until one or both break their silences - or the servers recover from what ails them, whichever comes first.

22 Comments

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Pete J 3rd January 2014, 10:29 Quote
Well, if it's really an attack, the people behind it are idiots.

Probably best to change your password just in case.
Cogwulf 3rd January 2014, 10:38 Quote
Quote:
idiots.

Or children.
Gareth Halfacree 3rd January 2014, 10:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cogwulf
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
idiots.
Or children.
Most likely both.
Dave Lister 3rd January 2014, 11:00 Quote
Iv'e noticed the slow speed of steam especially today, although I did just assume it was caused by people rushing to buy games in the last day of the sale !
Gareth Halfacree 3rd January 2014, 11:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Iv'e noticed the slow speed of steam especially today, although I did just assume it was caused by people rushing to buy games in the last day of the sale !
It was working enough this morning to pop up a message saying I had a new item in my inventory, but the store and inventory pages are just timing out. I can at least log in, though, which some couldn't at the height of the troubles.
Corky42 3rd January 2014, 11:11 Quote
I never understand what these groups that lay claim to DDOS attacks hope to achieve.
Dave Lister 3rd January 2014, 11:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Iv'e noticed the slow speed of steam especially today, although I did just assume it was caused by people rushing to buy games in the last day of the sale !
It was working enough this morning to pop up a message saying I had a new item in my inventory, but the store and inventory pages are just timing out. I can at least log in, though, which some couldn't at the height of the troubles.

That's pretty much how it was for me to, I could log on but the store or anything apart from my games list wasn't accessible.
Cerberus90 3rd January 2014, 11:34 Quote
I can get to the store and seemingly everything apart from my inventory. Which is bugging me, as it says I've got two new items there and I don't know what they are, :D
smc8788 3rd January 2014, 12:03 Quote
Steam's working fine for me, no issues at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
I never understand what these groups that lay claim to DDOS attacks hope to achieve.

Attention. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame whether it's good or bad, for some this is probably the best chance they've got.
Gareth Halfacree 3rd January 2014, 12:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
Steam's working fine for me, no issues at all.
Still mammaries-skyward for me.

http://gareth.halfacree.co.uk/pubimages/steam.png
Umbra 3rd January 2014, 12:58 Quote
I don't want to turn this into a steam lovers versus steam haters thread but obviously a lot of people don't like steam, for whatever reason, so an attack was probably inevitable and it does show the weakness and vulnerability of a system like steam.

I've not used steam that much so I'm no expert on it but I've read conflicting answers about having to be online to play some games, someone wrote that when their internet went down steam wouldn't let them connect to offline mode, it turned out that you must be online first to select offline mode,
Steam may be fine for buying some cheap games but if that system prevents people from playing those games when you have payed for them it's obviously flawed, it also highlight the problems of one company having the monopoly for online games, yes there's Origin and a few others but they don't have the market that steam has.
rollo 3rd January 2014, 15:20 Quote
Highest played game on steam is Dota 2 which is free to play. Highest played on origin is bf3/4.

Unless your on about users who shop there. Valve made less cash than EA at last check last year.

No game company posts where they sell games at or the distribution. Can't really say they have a monopoly without those facts. They can't give those figures due to none disclosure so it's all estimated.

Companies have reported anywhere from 40 - 80% of there revenue from steam.

Every game on steam is available in elsewhere except the valve only games. Similar story with origin.

Major benifits is that they offer developers 70% margin vs 50% at retail that's what an online store offers in reality. I have fm 2014 on my laptop and it works with no internet due to my traveling I'm a lot of the time without it or on 3G Internet.
Cerberus90 3rd January 2014, 19:47 Quote
Mines got even worse now, can't access store, community or profile related stuff.
SirFur 3rd January 2014, 22:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo

Unless your on about users who shop there. Valve made less cash than EA at last check last year.

I would very much contest that claim. We can't prove what either company makes, and neither will they disclose it.

Steam has got its paws in so many places its pretty darn unbelievable at times. Dota 2 may be F2P but I can assure you it rakes in a lot of cash for them. The sales of dota items on the community market, the inagme sales from its own store, the purchases of tournament passes...

Steam community market has been a massive ploy to help steam rake in more money from these F2P services without anyone actually paying steam that much directly.

Origin has released some big games this year, and they may well be 'making' more money. But what steam has done and the 'overall expense' is minimal in terms of the benefits they are reaping. Wait till they release an actual Valve title in the year, on top of everything else they are doing to broaden their wings, with Steam OS and SteamBox. They have even started selling software.
Panomama 3rd January 2014, 22:42 Quote
Well, someone wanted a game that didn't go on sale!
Bede 4th January 2014, 00:58 Quote
EA is a publicly listed company with publicly available financial reports (available at http://investors.ea.com/). Their financial reports, executive compensation and a whole host of other interesting bits and pieces can be read by all. For example, FIFA digital revenue was $145m in the last quarter. That seems quite impressive to me, I suspect they make at least as much money from F2P games as Valve does.

Valve we have almost no info on because their shares are not publicly traded.

Edit:

To take this a bit further. If you scan through EA's FY2013 report you come to an interesting summary on p.89 of how important certain titles are to them. FIFA, on a Battlefield year, is responsible for a similar proportion of revenue (FIFA: 13%, BF3: 11%) and on a non-Battlefield year is a full 17% of EA's revenue.

What EA describes as 'Research and Development expenses' basically comes down to the cost of employing thousands of game designers. In FY2013 this was $1.153 billion.

*NA and the EU are still EA's largest markets.
*DICE employ close to 550 full-time employees. They're also the only unionised employees EA has!
*EA have reduced their yearly AAA game production from 36 titles in 2011 to 11 in 2014. Concern about quality means that they intend to focus more resources (ie people) on fewer games.
*Retail is still key to EA. In NA 61% of sales were made to just ten wholesalers. In the EU this drops to 30%.
*60% of sales were for consoles.
*Reading between the lines, the major sports franchises have EA over a barrel. EA needs the licenses because it is such a major part of their yearly revenue (whereas other titles are less regular).
*EA stock is highly volatile in price - it's been as low as $11 and as high as $28 within the last couple of years.
*EA are set to pay out $27m to plaintiffs in a class action alleging anti-trust violations in the case of various sporting franchises.
*The stock is distinctly underperforming the rest of the S&P500.
*They are engaging in the rather sensible practice of minimizing profits in order to minimize tax exposure, and I suspect that large losses in 2009, 2010 and 2011 mean that they have substantial tax credit available to them. But seriously, they lost $1bn in 2009.

All good, clean interesting stuff. Say what you like about the financial markets, but the rules they have in place for disclosure and accounting mean that there is a great deal of information about publicly traded companies available.
forum_user 4th January 2014, 19:10 Quote
The odds are that both (assuming the story is correct) Valve and EA will have been blackmailed by cyber crooks for cash or else the companies servers get trashed with requests.

Or.

Cyber crooks are aiming for the credit card details.

Going back 20 years I remember a retailer had to pay regular sums to well-known terrorists in order to prevent the stores being bombed. Modern day crooks are going to be a much bigge pain in the backside.
Spreadie 4th January 2014, 19:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by forum_user
The odds are that both (assuming the story is correct) Valve and EA will have been blackmailed by cyber crooks for cash or else the companies servers get trashed with requests.

Or.

Cyber crooks are aiming for the credit card details.
Exactly how does a DDoS attack gain you access to credit card details?
forum_user 4th January 2014, 19:58 Quote
Nothing has been officially confirmed yet. You can't be certain it was DDoS.
AlienwareAndy 4th January 2014, 20:02 Quote
I told them to release NFSU III and HL3....

:D
siliconfanatic 5th January 2014, 00:11 Quote
No wonder my game is taking forever to download, and the other was botched.
Bede 5th January 2014, 00:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie
Exactly how does a DDoS attack gain you access to credit card details?

There have been instances in the past where it has happened. Not sure if it was by hampering/overwhelming key firewalls or just as a distraction whilst the penetration took place though.
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