Final Fantasy XI under attack

DDoS attacks bog down performance of Square Enix's online services; gamers in Japan, Europe, and North America affected.

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Square Enix said today that its PlayOnline service has been under a distributed denial of service attack since April 9. Last Friday, these attacks caused all servers for Final Fantasy XI to shut down for approximately three hours. While Square Enix is currently investigating the source of the attacks and attempting to mitigate damages, servers are still being adversely affected at regular intervals.

"Our technicians are taking every measure possible to prevent further attacks," said a Square Enix representative on its Web site. "However, attack methods have varied, which has meant a more time-consuming review of our network protection. Currently, we are unable to determine the precise source of attack. However, with the cooperation of ISP companies, our investigation continues to make progress."

Square Enix is also bringing the law in to help figure out the source of the attacks. "Law enforcement authorities in Japan, the United States, and Europe have been contacted for support. Our technicians will continue to employ the most effective measures available to counteract the attacks. As well, we are working with local and international authorities to take legal action against those obstructing the PlayOnline service."

PlayOnline is currently used to support Final Fantasy XI in North America and Europe. However, in Japan, Square Enix hosts Front Mission Online, Fantasy Earth, and the Japanese version of EverQuest II on the PlayOnline servers. The company has not revealed whether these other games have been affected by the DDoS attacks.

A DDoS attack consists of multiple computers simultaneously sending large amounts of data to a target server; the resulting overload conditions can push a server offline, slow it down considerably, and even cause it to crash.

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