PSO2 DDoS Attacks

seriously

So today has been an interesting one. The PSO2 servers were taken offline a while earlier by Sega in response to a DDoS attack which rendered the servers pretty much unreachable for the vast majority of players. Right now, the servers are intended to stay offline until further notice, which Sega plans to deliver on in about 10 hours from writing this post. If you were were intent on playing today, you’re out of luck.

What’s a DDoS? 

This likely isn’t the first time you’ve heard of such an attack, but in case it is; a DDoS is a Distributed Denial of Service attack. The intent of such an attack is usually, as the name implies, to deny a service. In this case, preventing people from being able to play PSO2. One way this can be accomplished is by simply flooding a server with requests, which overloads the server trying to respond to them. This is the “distributed” part, as the attack requests, as least as far as the server is concerned, come from many different locations. This makes it difficult for the server to discern what is legitimate traffic and what isn’t. Distributed attacks are on a different scale to a straight Denial-of-Service attack and require more resources to pull off.

If that cleared nothing up for you, someone has created this handy illustration to explain what’s up here. More seriously, you can read more about it at Wikipedia here.

The Community Response

As you might expect the community has been reasoned, understanding and rational about the whole sit- IP BAN INCOMING!! BAN ALL THE GAIJINS! BAN THE CHINESE AGAIN! CUT OFF ELECTRICITY TO THE JAPANESE!

Yes the community is doing a fine job of shitting itself, as exampled on the post at Bumped here where the comment section now resembles YouTube comment levels of discourse.

THE SUSPECTS

A DDoS attack doesn’t happen by itself! Some fiendish villain was behind the attacks, doing the greatest of injustices to the world by attacking some online game for a bit. The community, a veritable army of super sleuths, have narrowed it down to the following lineup of just about everybody in the world.

Our Hackers!!

You know, those adorable rogues who occasionally send global messages which essentially act like an automatic PSO-World thread generator? Those scamps have indeed been up to various mischiefs since the game was released, maybe they were the culprits behind this heinous act!

Alright, seriously, this is unlikely. While not beyond trouble-making, remember that all of the usual suspects flaunt their abilities for a large part in order to peddle software. They sell hacks to players by way of a trainer. Really wouldn’t do this business plan a lot of good if the game itself was taken down now would it? Biting the hand that feeds. Indeed, one made a public announcement denying all involvement in the attack which was re-posted here as well as making a post on their forums.

Angry South East Asian-ers!

Those guys have a motive! They’re angry that Sega IP-banned them all and are now taking out their revenge. If they can’t play on the JP servers, then NO ONE CAN!!

If this were the case, what good would attacking the servers do for them? This conspiracy operates under the assumption that Sega of Japan was the one who instigated this decision. You know, the same company that also allows Taiwanese players to connect to the Japanese servers, even though they have their own version of the game? Surely if they were angry, it’d make much more sense to direct it at Asiasoft.

It was the CHINESE!

I saw a thread on 2chan that said the Chinese probably did it and we know 2chan is a house of ironclad facts.

2chan has a bit of a reputation for disliking the Chinese. How well deserved that reputation may be is hard for me to say as I can’t really say I go to the site that often. The basis of blaming the Chinese, as far as I know, is that it’s in retaliation for banning RMT bots, which… I don’t know. If this were so, wouldn’t they have done so long ago when the IP block placed on the country happened? Seems strange to wait so long before carrying out the attack if that’s the case.

Yeah but the Chinese have apparently been engaging in cyber warfare and…

Even if we assume this to be true, I’m pretty sure there’s little strategic benefit in taking down an online videogame.

It was a rival MMO company!

This doesn’t need any hysterical paragraph. The basis of this suspicion is on a tweet made by the PR account for a game called “Toy Wars”

toy_waaars

The essential jist of the message is “while PSO2 is down why not try Toy Wars?”. While certainly not proof that they did it, it is a pretty cheeky thing to say and it’s natural that this would fan the flames of conspiracy.

Of course they got a pretty negative response for this and since deleted the tweet, offering the following apology for making such an inappropriate post.

It was some angry Americans in response to PEARL HARBOR

…No.

IT WAS YOU

Of course, it all makes sense now! All this faux stupidity, all that false hysteria. All a cover! You fucking genius! Fuck you.

The Official Response

Sega so far have really just acknowledged the attack and done the standard communication you’d expect from them. They’ve reassured the player-base that their data is all intact and none of it was compromised in the attack.

Their initial response however did cause a little bit of panic. At first, they said if the attacks continued they would suspend the service. Such a terminal sounding statement created quite a bit of panic before they later apologized for the confusion and reassured people that the service termination was only temporary.

So far, that’s been it. Sega have scheduled another announcement to update people on the situation at 13:00 JST tomorrow.

Update 6/20: So it seems the game and related sites and services will continue to be down while Sega works out how to deal with the situation. Another announcement is due on the 23rd. It may well be that the game will continue to be offline in the meanwhile…

So what happens now?

Lots of PSO2 players go outside for the first day in two years. Aside that, nothing.

To those worried about an IP block, really I wouldn’t be. A DDoS attack is just that, it is distributed. Blocking IPs will not stop such an attack, short of blocking pretty much every IP outside of your building, which would be pretty bad for business as you could imagine! But really, even if you believed an IP block would do shit, you’re making the assumption that the attack originated from outside of Japan. If it came from within Japan, a lot of good banning those filthy gaijins would do.

It’s been quite a day…

South-East Asia Players IP-Blocked From PSO2JP?

LOSER-LOSER-LA-LA-LAAA

A good amount of noise is spreading among various places. Noise made by concerned players from the SEA region who have found that they can’t log in to the Japanese servers today.

So has there been an IP block?

Well, it certainly would seem to be that way judging by the number of people reporting it. Among the complaints about GameGuard mucking up the early access for those who actually want to play on Asiasoft’s servers, there’s a good number of complaints about being unable to connect to JP on Asiasoft’s facebook page. 

There’s also this thread on PSO-World, this thread on Reddit and various comments over on Bumped. The word has spread, people in the region are unable to connect.

Update: Seems it’s official, according to this post by CM Dynareus. Quote below:

“Hello, unfortunately yes, as countries from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines will only be able to access our server.

Cheers ”

 

sea_facebook_01
Before recently, the only official word on anything regarding IP-blocks was that players outside the SEA region would be unable to connect to Asiasoft’s servers. There was, as far as I am aware, no official word stating that SEA players would no longer be able to play on the Japanese servers.

There is a slim chance that this isn’t an IP-block. This could be a coincidental connection issue, perhaps in light of cable maintenance or something. Although my gut feeling says this is incredibly unlikely, given that it’d be a remarkable coincidence that all 6 countries covered by Asiasoft happen to be blocked at the same time and on the day after their early access is underway.

I’m in South East Asia and fuck all things Asiasoft, how do I play on PSO2JP?

You’re in luck, potentially! Head on over to PSO-World here, where AIDA of Arks Layer has put together a guide to setting up a VPN.

Thoughts

If this is indeed an official IP block, then it’s a dick move. Yes, it is within Sega’s right to do so. don’t get me wrong there. In fact, all players from SEA and indeed players from anywhere in the world aside Japan aren’t officially allowed to connect to the servers in the first place. The terms of service state that you must physically be in Japan, after-all. Blocking entire regions with no word or forewarning is still a dick move, however. It’s a dick move because Sega or Asiasoft would have had the option to inform their players this was going to happen. Give the players who were maybe willing or considering playing on the SEA servers instead some time to prepare, to bid farewell to their old characters and other players on the JP servers they may be acquainted with.

Whose fault would it be? Given that Taiwan players can freely choose to play either their local version or the Japanese version, the finger of accusation points squarely at Asiasoft. Maybe it was a part of a deal they negotiated with Sega? Who knows.

If this was indeed Asiasoft’s decision as part of a tactic to increase their playerbase, I suspect it will only further the resolve of players who don’t wish to play on their servers and drive them towards VPNs instead.

DOES THIS MEAN WE WILL BE IP-BLOCKED WHEN PSO2 COMES OUT IN THE WEST?????

No. Remember, PSO2 Taiwan (hosted by Gamania) aren’t IP-blocked, indicating this wasn’t Sega\s decision.

All this incident would prove, should it be absolutely officially confirmed that it is an IP-block, is that Sega are willing to comply with requests to IP-block regions. So should whoever be hosting the western release of the game ask for it, Sega may comply.