Cyberattack victim gaming website offers $13,000 to bring hackers to justice

The developers of an online game that was subject to a DDoS attack at launch has offered a bounty to catch those responsible.

credit cnet
Credit: CNET

Online gaming website Wurm, a recent victim of a cyberattack, has offered a bounty not for the discovery of bugs -- but of hackers.

On the 18th February, Wurm operators said that the popular massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Wurm Online, was the target of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). Denial of service attacks are a common form of cyberthreat which involve large numbers of PCs infected with malware -- which then become slaves to a command center that directs them to flood a target with so much traffic servers cannot handle it, causing websites to crash under the strain.

There are a number of reasons why a DDoS attack may occur. Unfair competition sending rivals offline, the opportunity to steal digital items or money for real monetary gain, or the first stage in launching more sophisticated attacks designed to steal valuable user data are all possible. That, or simply revenge or to cause a company to lose money.

As a result of the attack, services had to be pulled off the grid, the game operator was knocked offline, and a new web hosting provider is supporting the game operator. Wurm co-creator Rolf Janssonon later wrote in a blog post:

"Shortly after today's update we were the target of a DDoS attack and our hosting provider had to pull us off the grid for now. We will be back as soon as possible but things are out of our hands since their other customers are affected. As we wrote in a previous news post we are planning on changing hosting anyways which should improve things for the future. We can offer 10,000 euro for any tips or evidence leading to a conviction of the person responsible for this attack."

The game, built by Swedish firm Code Club AB, is still down at the time of writing, but operators say the game has been frozen in time at the point just before the traffic swamp crashed servers, and so gamers will not have lost any progress when Wurm is restored.

However, the attack has naturally left gamers less than impressed. In a forum post tiled "Dear DDOS Attacker," fans of the MMORPG are baying for blood.

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The reward, which equates to $13,000, is an unusual solution to the problem. While Wurm developers are configuring the new servers and improvements are "looking good," there is no ETA on relaunch at the moment, but it will be interesting to see if the bounty yields results.