Blizzard’s Battle.net, Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE, and Sony’s Playstation Network have all been hit by DDoS attacks, causing disruption in the services.
A DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack is basically a large-scale attempt to disrupt a web server using requests from many different “zombie” computers. Suppose there’s a pizza store in your town, and it normally gets 3-4 orders by phone every hour. A group wants to put the store out of business using unethical means, and they make a fake post on a social network that claims the store is giving out free pizzas. For 10 hours, the pizza store, which isn’t really giving out free pizzas, is inundated with an average of 10,000 calls per hour, making it unable to get any real business. This is essentially how a DDoS attack works, but with computers. When a website or a gaming server is hit by such an attack, legitimate users cannot visit the site or log in because there are so many other requests.
So how can the everyday user do to help stop DDoS attacks? DDoS attacks are generally performed using infected computers that are part of botnets. Without your knowledge, your malware-infested computer could be remotely taken over and used in DDoS attacks. If everyone adequately protected their computers, people performing these attacks would be deprived of a major resource for doing so.