Mike Selinker, game designer for Wizards of the Coast and a participant in the company's 25-hour role-playing game marathon on November 4, reported today that children's charity Extra Life was the victim of a denial of service (DDoS) attack. Jeromy "Doc" Adams of Extra Life explained:
We’ve discovered that the Extra Life website experienced a DDoS attack against our datacenter. I am not sure what kind of person would DDoS a charitable initiative. I am so sorry that you are going through this frustration today. Our entire team is purely heartbroken that someone would do this. But it has happened. As frustrating as this is for everyone involved, it pales in comparison to what the kids we’re trying to save go through. That reality, for me personally, is about the only thing keeping me somewhat calm right now.
Selinker shared how it affected his fundraising:
Extra Life—all the campaigns, all the donation pages, all the links to broadcasts—they were all gone. We couldn’t see our fundraising totals, couldn’t tell people where to donate, couldn’t do anything. This was a denial of service attack. All three words are important. “Attack,” in that it was targeted right at us. “Denial,” in that it paralyzed us from acting. And “service,” in that what we could no longer do was serve. We could do but one thing: keep gaming.
It's unknown precisely how much damage the DDoS did to the fundraiser, but Selinker estimates it could easily have been several hundred dollars:
I had raised a new $100 over the first 30 minutes, so maybe if I’d had my full four hours on the air to fundraise, I could’ve brought in $700 more. Who knows. But I didn’t, because I couldn’t. The attacker had beaten me through his relentless efforts to deny funds to sick children.
Fortunately, this sad tale has a happy ending. More than 31,000 players raised $3.7 million to-date for Extra Life over the weekend:
Despite the attacks, players set a record high fundraising total since Extra Life was started in 2008 and also helped the program reach its highest engagements ever on its Facebook page and Twitter account, @extralife4kids. Adams said players had raised just over $2 million for this year’s event before Saturday and rallied to bring in another $1.7 million over the weekend.
Extra-Life.org will continue to accept donations for member children’s hospitals through Dec. 31, 2013 and thousands more players have continued to sign up Monday. Adams confirmed an Extra Life make-up day will occur Saturday, Nov. 9 at players’ request.
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