Denial of service or distributed denial of service attacks: Frequently asked questions
If you play games on Xbox Live, you could experience a denial of service (or DoS) or distributed denial of service (or DDoS) attack. Such attacks may render your device (your Xbox console or your computer) temporarily unable to connect to the Internet or to Xbox Live.
If you have an Xbox Live account, your Xbox console could experience a DoS attack or DDoS attack from another Xbox Live account holder. DoS attacks and DDoS attacks are sometimes used as retaliation between Xbox Live game players.
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.
What is a DoS or DDoS attack?
In a DoS attack, the attacker floods the IP address of the targeted device (such as an Xbox console or a computer) with external, useless communication requests, thereby leaving the device unable to connect to the Internet and Xbox Live. The attack is not directed at Xbox Live. It’s 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.
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."
How do I know whether I've experienced an attack?
If your Xbox 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 think that your Xbox console or computer has experienced a DoS or DDoS attack, do the following:
- Reset your Internet router.
- Contact your ISP.
- If you are certain of the identity of the DoS or DDoS attacker:
- Contact the attacker’s ISP.
- File a complaint against the player with Xbox Live. Select the "tampering" category on the complaint form.
- Avoid that individual on Xbox Live in the future.
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 complete reset requires turning off the power 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 still experience the DoS or DDoS attack, contact your ISP.
How can I find out who attacked me?
To try to determine the identity of the individual who initiated a DoS or DDoS attack on your Xbox console or your computer, contact your ISP.
Can a support agent determine the identity of the DoS or DDoS attacker?
Xbox Support agents can’t determine the identity of the DoS or DDoS attacker.
To try to identify the DoS or DDoS attacker, contact your ISP.
What can Xbox Live do to prevent these attacks?
The Xbox Live service can’t prevent DoS and DDoS attacks because they happen through the IP address of the attacked device; they do not happen directly in the Xbox Live service.
For more information about preventing DoS and DDoS attacks, contact your ISP.
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