Denial of service (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks: Frequently asked questions

Overview

If you play games on Xbox Live, you could experience a denial of service (or DoS) attack or a distributed denial of service (or DDoS) attack. Such attacks may render your device (that is, your Xbox 360 console or your computer) temporarily unable to connect to the Internet or to Xbox Live.

If you have an Xbox Live account, your Xbox 360 console could experience a DoS attack or DDoS attack from another Xbox Live account. DoS attacks and DDoS attacks are sometimes used as retaliation between Xbox Live gameplayers.

If you think you've experienced a DoS or DDoS attack, we recommend that you reset your Internet router and contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you know who initiated the DoS or DDoS attack, you may also want to submit a player review to Xbox Live and avoid the attacker in the future.

On this page

What is a DoS or DDoS attack?

In a DoS attack, the attacker floods the IP address of the targeted device (usually an Xbox 360 console or a computer) with external, useless communication requests, thereby leaving it unable to connect to the Internet and, therefore, to Xbox Live. The attack is not directed at Xbox Live. Instead, it is directed at the IP address of the targeted device.

In a DDoS attack, the attacker uses malicious code installed on multiple computers to identify and attack the target device. Attackers who initiate a DDoS attack do so to have a greater effect on the targeted device than a DoS attack initiated from a single device.

How do I know whether I've experienced an attack?

If your Xbox 360 console experiences a DoS or DDoS attack, you probably won't be able to connect to Xbox Live from your console, and all Internet connectivity in your household will be down.

What should I do if I think I've been attacked?

If you believe that your Xbox 360 console or computer has experienced a DoS or DDoS attack, you should do the following:

  • Reset your Internet router (see "Solution 2: Restart your network equipment")
  • Contact your ISP
  • If you are certain of the identity of the DoS or DDoS attacker:
    • Contact the attacker’s ISP
    • File a complaint with Xbox. (To learn more about how to file a complaint, see Player complaints and Xbox Live suspensions and bans.)
      • When you file the complaint, select the "tampering" category when filling out your complaint form.
  • Avoid the individual in the future when you use Xbox Live

What can I do to stop the attack?

If you're currently experiencing a DoS or DDoS attack, try resetting your Internet router (that is, your DSL or cable modem), which may resolve the DoS or DDoS attack. A proper reset involves removing the power source for 5 to 10 minutes. This will increase the likelihood that you will get a new IP address that the attacker will not have access to.

If you try the above and still experience the DoS or DDoS attack, contact your ISP to report the attack.

How can I find out who attacked me?

To determine the identity of the individual who initiated a DoS or DDoS attack on your Xbox 360 console or your computer, contact your ISP.

Note DoS or DDoS attacks are sometimes used as retaliation following online, multi-player gameplay. DoS or DDoS attackers also sometimes threaten the players whose devices they later attack with comments such as "I'm going to IP boot you," "I'm going to flood your IP," or "I'm going to boot you off the Internet."

If you believe you know the identity of the DoS or DDoS attacker, you may want to submit a player review, avoid the threatening individual in the future, and play online games only with friends and trusted individuals.

Can a support agent determine whether I've experienced an attack?

If your Xbox 360 console or your computer experiences a DoS or DDoS attack, Xbox Support agents will not be able to determine the identity of the DoS or DDoS attacker.

To determine the identity of the DoS or DDoS attacker, contact your ISP.

What can Xbox Live do to prevent these attacks?

DoS and DDoS attacks do not happen in the Xbox Live service. Instead, they happen through the IP address of the attacked device.

For more information about preventing DoS and DDoS attacks, contact your ISP.

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