Oh No! Pokémon GO Servers Down From Poodle Corp DDOS Attack

When I woke up this morning I opened my Pokémon GO app, eager to start hunting for the Pidgey’s, Eevee’s, and the elusive Rhyhorn that have been running amok in my neighborhood. The only thing I could see however, was a shadowy figure walking straight toward a Gyrados. This continuous loading page could only mean one thing- the Pokémon GO servers were down. Hacker group PoodleCorp announced on Twitter today that they were responsible for this Tangela tragedy via a DDoS attack.

The hacker group tweeted, “PokemonGo #Offline #PoodleCorp”. Pokémon trainers around the world demanded to know why PoodleCorp would be so cruel. Even YouTube star Felix Kjellberg aka “PewDiePie” begged, “Poodle Please... ;_______;”.

Pokemon GO loading page
The dreaded Pokemon GO loading screen

Security experts from Imperva Incapsula and Plixer offered some explanation and consolation. Ofer Gayer, product manager for DDoS at Imperva for the Incapsula product line noted that online games such as Pokémon GO are subject to latency and availability issues and therefore are ideal targets for DDoS attacks. A DDoS is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple attack points and devices.
This hack, combined with the fact that Pokémon GO was just released in an additional twenty-six countries, crashed Nintendo servers hard. Thomas Pore, director of IT and Services at Plixer remarked that this hack reminded him of when when Lizard Squad took down XBOX Live and PSN. He stated, “Whatever the motive is, everyone involved suffers; gamers suffer from the inconvenience of the outage and the money stops streaming in to Nintendo-Niantic.”

Lizard Squad claimed they hacked XBox Live and PSN partly to raise awareness about the lack of cybersecurity. PoodleCorp has not declared their intentions or motives and instead tweeted that we should expect a larger scale attack soon.

Let’s hope that Niantic and Nintendo up their security and DDoS resilience. At the very least, let’s hope no one is catching a Charizard or Mewtwo when PoodleCorp next strikes.