A Minecraft competition inadvertently took a whole country offline - here’s how

(Image credit: Microsoft/Mojang)

A multi-day DDoS attack coinciding with a highly-anticipated Minecraft tournament left the entire country of Andorra without access to the internet last week.

Andorra is European microstate in the Pyrenees, bordered by France and Spain. The DDoS campaign targeted Andorra Telecom, the country’s sole internet service provider (ISP), and resulted in the elimination of a number of Andorran players from the competition.

Although the identity of the culprits is yet to be confirmed, some suspect the attack was orchestrated with the express goal of affecting the participation of Team Andorra, whose players were robbed of their shot at the $100,000 prize pool.

Minecraft DDoS attack

The Minecraft tournament in question, Squidcraft Games, is part of a series of online competitions hosted on popular streaming platform Twitch. The event began on January 19 and will end today, January 24.

Inspired by the Netflix smash-hit Squid Games, the tournament pits 150 players against one another in a series of challenges over six days. The competition has already broken Twitch records, attracting more than one million concurrent viewers on the second day.

As reported by our sister site Tom’s Hardware, the DDoS attack against Andorra Telecom spanned both the first and second day of the tournament. The Andorran competitors were given passage into the second day, but the organizers had no choice but to eliminate the players after internet issues resurfaced.

The notion that the attack might have been targeted specifically at Team Andorra appears to have originated with a tweet from NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet connectivity issues. Andorra Telecom is said to have told NetBlocks it believes the attack had something to do with the high-stakes Minecraft competition.

However, the telecoms company is still suffering problems, despite the fact the Andorran players are out of the tournament. According to a tweet published this morning, customers are still having difficulty browsing the internet as a result of DDoS activity. TechRadar Pro has asked the firm whether it stands by its initial assessment of the motivation for the attacks.

Via Tom's Hardware

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.