Mortal Kombat 11 has only been out since April of this year, yet there appears to be one player on the PlayStation 4 who is consistently attacking his opponents with a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) to take the top rank in the game.
PlayStation 4 players have been reporting that over the past month, a single player has been using these DDoS attacks to force a disconnect from a ranked match. This causes the disconnecting player to lose points in ranked mode, as the console thinks they have purposefully quit the match. This in turn awards points to the player who orchestrated the online attack. Surprisingly, this kind of behavior has not been detected by the developer NetherRealm.
It is worrisome to see that there is not already some mechanism in place to catch this kind of behavior. We're not talking about a small indie company strapped for resources in making their first online game. NetherRealm has been around the block a few times with Mortal Kombat - surely there must be someone within the organization tracking stats of wins and losses for issues of balance, which could easily extend to characters with such ridiculous ranking disparities.
The individual engaging in this unethical behavior has had various usernames including pa3com, pa4com, and Son-Goku-DZ, and the gaming community has complained about the behavior for some time now.
Hey @NetherRealm @noobde, I quit out of my match with the user known as PA3com in under ten seconds upon seeing his name. Now ten minutes later the internet in my house is still out. Just wanted to let you know he’s working fast and viciously.
— Ludi @TFGT 11 (@LudiFGC) August 2, 2019
What is particularly odd about the behavior is that there are no tangible benefits to being ranked the top player in the world in these online leaderboards. Competitive play occurs locally, and if this individual were to show up there, one cannot imagine his skill being like other players. Otherwise, there would be not need for such cheating.
NetherRealm has recently tweeted out a response, stating that they are aware and are looking into a solution.
We are aware of numerous DDOS attacks perpetrated by a certain player in the Kombat League. We intend to make use of all options available to us to address this situation. Thank you for your patience!
— NetherRealm Studios (@NetherRealm) August 5, 2019
DDoS attacks are a relatively new phenomenon, first recorded in 1999 against the University of Minnesota’s computer network, disabling it for two days. Since then it has been used in various online attacks, often with malicious intent.
One of the more recent large-scale DDOS attacks was made against Blizzard, the gaming developer who in 2018 suffering an entire weekend of continued attacks that saw its userbase unable to connect to many of its online games, including Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft, and others.
Unfortunately, a DDoS attack is widely considered one of the simpler technological attacks that can cause a blackout to its target. We will not get into the nitty gritty details here, but suffice it to say that an individual can do it either through dedicated software, or even through websites that prompt their users to selected a target to bombard.
Due to how simple it is to perform something like a DDoS, we sincerely hope that NetherRealm puts resources into monitoring this manner of abuse. Not only is the rank ill-gotten by the cheater, but allowing them to run amok leaves other players vulnerable to online attack.