With millions of folks turning to gaming due in part to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the world's internet infrastructure is already showing signs of strain. That makes it an especially bad time for denial of service attacks, which is what Blizzard says has been the primary cause behind spotty Battle.net connections across the many games the service relies on.
[#BNet] We are currently monitoring a DDOS attack against network providers which is affecting latency/connections to our games.— Blizzard CS - The Americas (@BlizzardCS) March 20, 2020
Over the past three days, Blizzard's official US support Twitter has reported four instances of DDoS attacks against network providers that have impacted Battle.net service, "affecting latency/connections to our games." The most recent wave of attacks was reported at 9:10 a.m. PT on Friday, March 20.
Some frustrated players have speculated that the connection issues are actually due to a surge in users related to folks staying at home because of coronavirus, or an influx of players for the new free-to-play battle royale Call of Duty: Warzone. While other services like Steam and Xbox Live have seen confirmed upticks in users that likely relate to the coronavirus pandemic, Blizzard can presumably tell the difference between an ISP-targeted DDoS attack and a legitimate increase in traffic. Blizzard has also reported a number of issues seemingly unrelated to DDoS attacks over the past few days. USgamer has reached out to Blizzard for comment and will update this article if we receive a response.
On top of Call of Duty: Warzone, Modern Warfare, and 2018's Black Ops 4, Battle.net serves as the platform for all of Blizzard's actively supported multiplayer games including Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, StarCraft 2, and more.
A widely shared post on the Blizzard and Overwatch subreddits shows a clip of a Twitch chat spammer claiming to be orchestrating DDoS attacks against Blizzard servers. Whether the DDoS attacks are the work of a lone individual or are the result of numerous bad actors picking Blizzard as their target, the result is certainly a bummer.
Experts say that the current pandemic is putting a great deal of strain on the United States' patchwork internet infrastructure, which could mean that DDoS attacks may pose a bigger threat during this time than just ruining folks' gaming experiences. It's an unfortunately reality of how today's internet works that this is the case—hopefully, Blizzard either gets the issue under control soon or the attackers get bored and simply stop.