Gaming

'Final Fantasy XI' under attack

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

Square Enix's PlayOnline service has been under a distributed denial-of-service attack since April 9, the company said Monday.

Last Friday, the attacks caused all servers for "Final Fantasy XI" to shut down for approximately three hours. While Square Enix is investigating the source of the attacks and attempting to mitigate damages, servers are still being adversely affected at regular intervals, the company said.

"Our technicians are taking every measure possible to prevent further attacks," a Square Enix representative wrote on the game publisher's 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 police forces 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 can push a server offline, slow it down considerably and even cause it to crash.