The Truth Behind AbleGamers’ “DDOS” Attack

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If you’ve been following Twitter today, you’ve heard about the AbleGamers fiasco. Basically, Mercedes Carrera was going to do a porn charity stream and donate the proceeds to them. When they found out it was too GamerGate affiliated for their liking, they backed out, and refused to accept the money. There were some people joking on Reddit about “weaponizing porn,” but it was clearly a joke, and certainly wasn’t made by Ms. Carrera, or anyone else intimately associated with the project. In my opinion, it was a gross overreaction. But they then tried to claim their page was under DDOS attack. Not only that, they raised money off it, and media outlets like Destructoid directly blamed GamerGate for the supposed aggression.
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The only problem with this is, the site was never under attack…from anyone. The charitable explanation, is that those who run AbleGamers, are misinformed. Given what I know, I will lean towards that at this time. But before we get that, in our interview with infrequent contributor @EbolaChan_, here’s a comment from Mercedes Carrera, as well as a couple tweets she made earlier about the situation.

“I’m saddened that people would conflate my personal politics with my intention to help people in need.”

Now, let’s get to the meat of the article (which isn’t actually that long haha)…how we know they were never under DDOS attack. As I said, I conducted an interview earlier with @EbolaChan_, here it is below. Neirdan also dropped in with a comment towards the end. Leave any thoughts below, in the #BasedCommentsSection.

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TheRalph: OK, without disclosing too much, what is your background, and why should we care about what you are about to tell us?

Ebola: My background is that of a computer engineer, my current position is as a NOC engineer for a private Company.

From Wikipedia: A NOC engineer works in A network operations center (NOC, pronounced like the word knock), also known as a “network management center”, is one or more locations from which network monitoring and control, or network management, is exercised over a computer, telecommunication or satellite network. Which means i know a thing or two about how network traffic affects webservers

TheRalph: Yes, I believe you would. Plus, I think your confirm rate is 100% for all the other stories you’ve confirmed. Is that correct?

Ebola: So far no, I haven’t had a claim overturned

TheRalph: So, what evidence do you have that leads you to believe AbleGamers is mistaken about what occurred today?

Ebola: Okay so here is the deal: if you saw my post, that was a ping of their web server where they host their content. After examination, it appears that they were misinformed about what occurred today.

In computing, a denial-of-service (DoS) or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. This is done by flooding the servers With false requests. which then overloads their servers.

Now, what I did with my ping test of their webserver, was to verify that their servers where not under duress. Because if they were under a DDoS attack, I would not get 139 ms.

Here is the ping test:

B4Rl3aSCMAAFy_4

file1

Ebola: All those sites were and still are up. What this means is, they were just given bad information. They also have this module running on their site (mod_bwlimited), which under heavy traffic, will white out the page to conserve bandwidth. This is just a very unfortunate misunderstanding from their site, thinking that gamers were responsible for a “DDOS.”

Ebola: I tested during their alleged DDoS attack, which was why I called them out on it.

TheRalph: So they got a lot of traffic on their page and thought it was a DDOS, like people assumed happened at my site in the past?

Ebola: Yes. This seems to be the most valid explanation

Neirdan: Also, they could’ve installed CloudFlare. It just proves their technical ineptness.

Ebola: It does. It’s very unfortunate that the person that runs their Twitter account tries to lay blame on GamerGate, or gamers.

TheRalph

Founder, Owner, & Editor-in-Chief of TheRalphRetort.com. Political fiend, gamer, & anti-bullshit.

  • Benny

    Is there any confirmation that Ebolachan is actually a NOC engineer, besides sounding like they know what they’re talking about? Just want to verify.

    • Benny
      • Ok, now where’s the guy saying your handwriting is shit, Ebola? lol

        • Ebola-Chan

          I WILL EAT HIM ALIVE, IM A PROGRAMMER NOT A CALIGRAPHIST

        • fluoridedeath

          Yeah I’m pretty sure that says ebola-char so clearly not verification.

          • ninjaclown

            Ralph-san, SHE IS A EBOLA-CHAR

        • A Real Libertarian

          I can’t see the Tweet.

  • [email protected]

    Nice article although I don”t think the person running their twitter account at any point hinted at Gamergate being responsible, it was those commenting on it.

    • FunGuy

      They tweeted a link to the Destructoid hit piece which explicitly made that claim.

    • Robert

      This is true. It was opportunistic commenters, and Destructoid. Obviously, if Gamergate’s supporter base were as small as the antis wish it was, the increased traffic would’ve been minimal to nil.

  • Nick_Soapdish

    Visiting websites is harassment.

    • Elilla Shadowheart

      Back when the internet was still newish, we used to call this being slashdotted. Now we have idiots calling page views harassment rite? Someone stop the ride because I want to get off now.

      MR BONES: THE RIDE DOESN’T END!

      • Linda M

        Anything to be a victim nowadays… victimhood is desirable, and victims compete over attention.

      • Izkata

        A few years ago, I’d commonly hear “doodled”, since the Google Doodle links to whatever they’re promoting. Many smaller sites were accidentally taken offline because of it.

        Mayhaps there’s a newer term now – and if there isn’t, there really should be. From what I understand with TFYC, this is what happened to them with traffic from Twitter users. How about “twatted” (from “swatted”)?

        • KLLRFRST

          “Twatted” sounds like someone getting whacked in the head with a Pocket Pussy.

          • Izkata

            Ew ew ew. Side-effect of being gay: slang regarding female anatomy never pops into mind on its own.

            Not sure if it’s a blessing or curse, though.

          • KLLRFRST

            I’m gay, and I immediately equated “twat” with “pussy”.

          • David Gray

            I immediately equate “twat” with a person of poor quality.
            Being British, twat is one of the more common of the “offensive” swears, cunt being the worst.
            Amusingly, this is used as evidence of cultural misogyny, despite “dick” or “prick” being more common and acceptable. The reason “feminine” curse words are “worse” is because of the reactions they gain, not because anyone hates women.

      • Toastrider

        Over on the conservative/libertarian side of things, we call it an ‘Instalanche’ (due to people following Instapundit’s links). Good times.

        • Elilla Shadowheart

          I’m a libertarian so I know instapundit well, but he’s after the old days of /. bringing servers down to it’s knees by posting a link. This of course was back before the days when server caching existed. So a link plus 300k+ hourly users could bring a server crashing to it’s knees in moments. Sometimes before the first comment was posted.

          Basically any thing like instalache, farked, drudged, and so on is based off the old /. effect. Reading here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot_effect if you really want to understand where the original term came from. Sadly /. has long since died, so long 3-number UID–meaning I was there when they switched over from their old comment system to the current one.

    • “Gamers should obey robots.txt because they’re all Twitter bots!”

    • KLLRFRST

      Typing in my Twitter URL is rape, you shitlord!

  • Cwbintennessee Michael Winton

    I got called an asshole pretty much earlier for calling BS on a DDos attack.

    I got tha ” tone police ” up my ass when I posted that one dude’s rebuttal where he’s on the same fucking host server as Ablegamer but I guess just cuz they’re a charity, can’t be mean.

    Fuck that. I presented factual info n got talked down to. I ain’t mad, i’m just annoyed that Gamergate got blamed for their technical fuckup.

    Archive : http://archive.today/ZDH6S
    https://archive.today/kYDvm

  • Erthwjim

    So site is turned down for charity, this probably increases traffic to site from both gamergate and anti-gamergate because previous to them turning down charity, barely anyone had probably heard of them. The site is not setup in a way to handle said traffic so they blame it on a ddos. As Ebola shows, the ping time is too low for it to be a ddos, when a ddos occurs, generally you’re looking at pings that don’t reply or pings that take much longer to reply. Also as Ebola points out, if it were a DDOS all sites on the IP would be shut down, and from sites I’ve known that have been DDOSed, the hosting company tends to also get involved and will sometimes redirect the IP in some way to mitigate the attack and because a DDOS sometimes generates massive amounts of data beyond what the site has paid for.

    But for their future reference: http://dyn.com/blog/how-to-tell-if-youve-been-hit-by-a-ddos-attack-and-5-ways-to-be-prepared/

    Of particular note:

    When dealing with a DDoS attack it is worth noting that it can be challenging to even determine if your website is down due to legitimate traffic, rather than an attack.

    I’ve seen this happen before, unknown site gets linked on popular site and because of this site gets more traffic than it can handle, this is not a ddos.

  • SirBittle

    Even if the site was DDoS’d, there is no evidence suggesting #GamerGate was responsible. It’s a bit abhorrent to me that they’d jump to such conclusions without at least trying to investigate.

    • Robert

      Destructoid jumped to the conclusion for obvious reasons. Ablegamers didn’t seem to do so, although they cozied up to some more antis soon after the declined charity offer. So there was an appearance of guilt by association, but we shouldn’t use that card back on them.

    • KLLRFRST

      Since when has lack of proof stopped them before? If they feel it is true, then it IS true! Feels = Reals!

  • Richard Olsen

    I find it disturbing that they may have known what was happening, and while they were happy to turn down a charity donation, while pan handling for pity of being under “attack” from GamerGate.

    This reeks of the Tom Sawyer fiasco. I think it would be better to just ignore these people from now on.

  • FunGuy

    Ebola: there was a period of about 30 minutes when the site was genuinely down (this was before you tweeted that analysis), followed by a couple of hours when it responded quickly but with an empty page.

    I assumed someone at the hosting provider swapped the real site for a blank page as a rather inept way of dealing with heavy burst.

    • Ebola-Chan

      I had people who work at liquid check it for me too, they werent ddos’ed at all

  • Nice job Ralph! I bet someone mentioned in passing the possibility of a DDOS attack and they ran with it.

  • Pig Stylay

    I want some fucking public apology from them. This aggression against GG will not stand.

  • ZURATAMA1324

    I swear, in the future, they will accidentally run out of milk in the fridge and blame it on #GamerGate.

  • NotoriousPAT

    Great work, Ralph. A+ reporting.

  • Too many red flags associated with AbleGamers. I’d rather give money to another charity, kthx

  • Kelly Rued

    Serious question for the NOC guy from a sysadmin: what if they have something like CloudLinux with Cagefs/LVE active to keep other accounts up while one account goes down?

    Just wondering because bad neighbor effect is not something new in shared hosting. There are ways to mitigate, making your “proof” a lot less certain. I’ve no idea what they’re running, but it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that an attack on one site wouldn’t take everyone down.

    • Ebola-Chan

      Sorry dident see your question, no they had nothing not even cloudflare. if they had that this wouldent be an issue

  • KLLRFRST

    No surprise here, but srhbutthead, the aGGros’ muckraker, is claiming that AbleGamer is getting threats and #GamerGate is behind it, even though nothing connecting it to GG has come up so far.

    Lack of proof didn’t stop them from claiming this DDOS “attack” was our fault either…

  • Javier Vega

    Its no point donating to them lets up it try another Charity I got an idea for one we can donate to if the person agree’s Athena and Reese Gaming for Good charity?

  • Clocked.G

    We are weaponizing porn and charity. But not for bad.. For good (of course) And it wasn’t our idea!
    This was a month ago..
    http://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/2jnisx/we_have_weaponized_charity/

  • gixxerharry .

    ZQ is good at DDos attacks i red in one of her tweets

  • pixel

    thanks guys

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