Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023

SEATTLE – The online segments of The International, the largest annual e-sports tournament for video games Dota 2 with a prize pool of over $18 million, crack and suffer a bit since the event’s finals began on Monday. On the first day, the main problem was the interruption of the video streams of the event, with the game itself appearing to avoid problems.

But on Tuesday, those issues were kicked up a notch by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that directly targeted the finale’s gameplay servers, as opposed to any tertiary systems. Speaking in The International’s English-language broadcast booth, host Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner confirmed to a Key Arena audience of thousands that gameplay in Tuesday’s first game between teams Evil Geniuses and Complexity Gaming was disrupted by a DDoS attack. The outage lasted nearly two hours.

This vulnerability is particularly notable because the gameplay itself, unlike all supporting systems, was targeted and removed, implying that the game was not running in local or LAN mode. We can’t find any official word on why the game’s core content doesn’t run completely offline or in LAN mode or if the DDoS attack somehow targeted a crucial, non-gameplay portion of The International.

This is not the first time Dota 2 tournaments have suffered DDoS attacks, although none have brought down matches during Valve’s own official international tournaments. A patch was released last year to help protect tournament sessions from DDoS vulnerabilities.

For now, it’s easy to assume that multiple providers, or at least completely separate servers, handle the different segments of The International’s overall internet load, as online video streaming remained connected during the DDoS attack. Internet service provider OptaNet has been advertising its role as the “core network” provider for The International for the past week, going so far as to say that “OptaNet is trusted to ensure that gamers can compete and that more than 20 million fans be able to stream the live event from anywhere in the world.” That statement indicated that the “real-time gamers” would be playing on a separate 10Gb network, and it boasted of OptaNet’s ability to “respond to events before a situation can impact the service”.

When we tried to contact OptaNet with questions about today’s outage, we ended up with a phone line with no ring. Since the company has been practicing Twitter silence since yesterday, we have little left other than this sadly tongue-in-cheek statement from last week:

By akfire1

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