There’s nothing worse than sitting down to an online game and discovering you’re sharing company with a hacker. When you join public online gaming sessions your IP may be visible to other players, and this can lead to targeted DDoS attacks or you being booted from gameplay sessions. It can also mean your information is scraped and made available to the public. Sites like xResolver only add to the anxiety of gamers, as they claim to host the public IP addresses and gamertags of thousands of vulnerable players.
But there are multiple steps you can take to avoid being listed on sites like these and to stay safe online.
What is xResolver?
xResolver is a database service logging the gamertags and IP addresses of users playing on Xbox, PlayStation and PC. The information contained on the website is technically legal as it’s publicly available information, but it can cause major headaches for gamers who frequently play online.
Alongside the database itself, xResolver offers a service where players may pay a fee to have their IP address removed from the log for ‘a life time’. This is not reccomended.
How hackers can grab your IP address while gaming
Hacking tools like OctoSniff can allow users online to scrape IP data from other users while they game. This is possible because IP addresses are made public while you’re online — it’s how users are able to connect to the internet in the first place.
OctoSniff nabs this information and decrypts user information while playing in an online session, allowing a log of which gamertag belongs to which IP address. This may then be added to databases like xResolver, allowing hackers to target particular players.
Why you should protect your IP address
Your IP address can reveal your general location to hackers (ie. usually by city and country) and opens your entire network to DDoS attacks.
Let’s say you’re gaming online, and doing badly. A hacker player may take personal offence to your plays and decide to obtain your public IP address using a tool like OctoSniff. They then use this information to flood your IP address with useless communications traffic, temporarily bringing down your internet and kicking you out of the game.
It sucks, right? And sadly, it does happen.
But as long as you protect your IP address and take steps to remain safe online, you won’t run into major problems.
Do I need to pay to have my IP address blacklisted?
Sites like xResolver claim to offer a premium service where players can ‘blacklist’ their gamertags and remove them from their public IP address logs — but this is a thinly veiled attempt at getting gamers to fork out cash for nothing.
Information scraped by xResolver is available publicly, and largely comes from users running programs like OctoSniff. To have your gamertag associated with your IP address online, you must be part of a multiplayer session with another user running a scraping program.
From there, information is logged and added to databases like xResolver.
While having your gamertag associated with your IP address may cause users to attack or DDoS you during gameplay, this is highly unlikely and requires you to be part of an online, public session with hackers.
Should your IP address and gamertag end up being identified, there are other options other than paying a hacker.
Do I need to worry about hackers while gaming online?
Running into hackers while gaming online is a very real risk, but it’s not one you should be overly worried about if you’re careful online.
Most online games and services will have their own lines of defence against hackers, but there’s also several things you can do to stay safe online.
Try not to play in public sessions, or in private sessions with strangers you don’t know. Don’t click unknown links provided in chat or private messages. Treat any strange or unwanted messages as suspicious.
While it’s not the end of the world if a stranger nabs your IP address, it’s obviously better to not be attacked in the first place. If you have suffered a DDoS attack or you suspect your IP address is compromised, there are steps you can take.
How to get your IP address changed
While you can change the IP address of your PC or laptop, you won’t be able to manually change your public IP address — those are set by your internet provider’s DHCP server. You can change your local IP address, but if someone is ramming a thousand bots into your household’s internet connection, that won’t help. It’s the public IP you need to change.
For some people, resetting your router for a few minutes may be the quickest and easiest solution you need. You may also have some success disconnecting and reconnecting your NBN box if it has 4G backup, although double check whether the latter applies to your connection first.
If you can’t figure it out yourself, your internet service provider may be able to provide advice or you can invest in a good VPN to switch your IP address for you. Any of these methods will help resolve your issues without the need to pay a hacker for the service.
The bottom line is you should always know who you’re playing with, and keep a level head when interacting with strangers online. While DDoS attacks are unfortunate, there are ways to avoid them — so don’t panic if it happens to you.