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Hackers claim to have launched DDoS attack that crashed Pokémon Go servers

Jul 17, 20163 mins
Data and Information SecurityMobile AppsSecurity

Hacker group PoodleCorp claimed responsibility for taking down Pokémon Go servers, although Niantic did not verify the attack.

Shortly after Pokémon launched in 26 new countries, the servers crashed. While sluggish and/or unresponsive servers shouldn’t surprise anyone, given the app’s popularity even before the added audience from countries across the globe, a hacking collective took credit for the attack.

A group of hackers going by “PoodleCorp,” a collective that took credit for hacking popular YouTube channels last month, took to Twitter to claim responsibility for DDoS-ing the Pokémon Go servers.

Thousands of frustrated players who had planned to dedicate their Saturday to catching Pokémon were ticked when the app reported, “Our servers are humbled by your incredible response.” Those players took to social media to express their outrage and disappointment.

Niantic, the app’s developers, did not blame the server meltdowns on a malicious attack. Instead, the company announced, “Due to the incredible number of Pokémon GO downloads, some Trainers are experiencing server connectivity issues. Don’t worry, our team is on it!”

On Twitter, Niantic said it was “working to fix the Pokémon Go server issues.”

A few hours later, XO, the leader of PoodleCorp, tweeted that crashing the Pokémon Go servers was a small-scale test and something bigger was coming soon.

Niantic later claimed to have identified the issues that caused the server problems.

A “Pokémon Go Servers” Twitter account pointed to an article about PoodleCorp’s DDoS attack in the Independent and called it the “conclusive reason for server delays.” At the time of publishing, most U.S. players could connect, but “servers are unstable at best while most are down” in the rest of the world.

There is currently no telling if the hacking group was responsible, if the servers went down under the heavy load from legitimate players, or if it was a combination of both. It seems most people definitely love the game; it even caused a stampede of sorts when a Vaporeon showed up in in New York City’s Central Park.

Pokémon Go humor

You don’t even have to be a player to appreciate some of the humor the app has inspired.

Cartoonist AC Stuart, aka “Noob the Loser,” has come up with a series of Pokémon Go comics about dating a PoGo player. If you’ve been involved with a gamer at all, then you will most likely enjoy them.

There is also a decent gfycat of the “Pokelympics.”

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.