We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

What is a DDoS attack?

Discover what a DDoS attack is, why it can affect your gameplay, and how they're used to target popular PC games like Diablo 4 and Minecraft.

DDoS Attack: A huge demonic figure looks to the camera with glowing eyes while fire rages in the background.

What is a DDoS attack? If you’ve been playing an online game and experienced high latency, or even a drop in connection, you might’ve been the victim of a DDoS attack. These incidents can be highly frustrating, and cause havoc on online games like Diablo 4 and Minecraft.

To help you understand what DDoS means, we’re going to explain exactly what’s happening when you’re affected by a DDoS attack, and if there’s anything you can do to avoid it.

What does a DDoS attack mean?

DDoS stands for ‘distributed denial of service’. DDoS attacks are cyberattacks where nefarious folk send lots of false requests and try to overload web servers, causing them to respond more slowly or even totally crash. They’re mostly used to target websites, but can also be used to target online game servers or even individual gamers through their IP address.

Why would anyone want to do that? Well, imagine you’re settling in for a session on a competitive shooter like Valorant or Fortnite, but whenever you fire a bullet, it takes a second to register your shot. You’re going to struggle to win the game, right? That’s one reason why people might do it: to give them a competitive edge by compromising your network connection. Of course, it’s not the only reason. Some folk just want to watch the world burn.

Popular games like Minecraft and Diablo 4 have been subject to DDoS attacks in high profile incidents over the past few years. It isn’t certain why Diablo 4 was targeted, although its always-online status made it a good choice for causing maximum disruption. Minecraft on the other hand was part of a massive DDoS attack which targeted a French telecom provider and US tech company. Although it was initially suspected that cybercriminals were trying to disrupt an upcoming election, the culprit turned out to be a few students who were trying to get an advantage in Minecraft. How bizarre!

So, what can you do to protect yourself against DDoS attacks? Well, there’s not a lot you can do to stop them from actually happening. You’ve just got to trust the company who owns the game in question has invested in robust servers and great IT support. However, to protect yourself from being affected, you’re best off using a VPN. A good VPN will give you an encrypted connection that’s very hard to target, so check our best VPN service list to make sure you’re covered against DDoS attacks.