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League of Legends: LCK Spring Split disrupted by persistent DDoS attacks, pre-recorded matches to be broadcast in response

Matches were being disrupted as far back as 25 February and the origin of the DDoS attacks remain unknown to the public.

DDoS attacks caused long pauses that lasted more than 6 hours and postponed several games in the LCK Spring Split. (Photo: Riot Games)
DDoS attacks caused long pauses that lasted more than 6 hours and postponed several games in the LCK Spring Split. (Photo: Riot Games)

The League of Legends Championship Korea (LCK) Spring Split found itself in trouble as it grappled with a series of disruptive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that have plagued matches since Sunday (25 February).

A DDoS attack involves a malicious effort to disrupt the regular flow of traffic to a specific server, service, or network. This is achieved by inundating the target or its supporting infrastructure with an excessive volume of internet traffic.

And after a string of postponed games since then, the LCK has decided to pre-record its upcoming matches for Week 6. The announcement was made on Friday (29 February).

“The LCK must unfortunately turn to pre-recorded matches for the remainder of this week to reduce the influence of continuous DDoS attacks,” the statement said.

Attendees who purchased tickets for the matches scheduled on 29 February and 1 March were also refunded in full, with ticket sales temporarily suspended until further notice.

When did the DDoS attacks in the LCK start?

The first encounter with DDoS attacks during the Spring Split occurred during the DRX vs Dplus KIA match on 25 February, resulting in multiple pauses due to ongoing network issues.

Additionally, the match between OK Savings Bank Brion and Guangdong Freecs was temporarily postponed due to similar issues. Players and fans had to wait through long pauses that went on for hours on end.

The LCK promptly issued an apology for the "chronic ping issues" experienced during the matches. In the apology, ticket refunds were issued to fans who attended the said matches.

Following investigations, the suspicion of a DDoS attack was confirmed on 26 February, when the LCK provided updates through social media, which then led to proactive measures to prevent further disruptions.

The match between Brion and Freecs was then pre-recorded and broadcast through the LCK official channel. Then on 26 February, the LCK provided updates regarding the investigation, explaining the rationale behind broadcasting a pre-recorded match without prior notice.

According to the post, thorough checks were conducted at the LoL Park after the matches to ensure the stability of future matches and prevent similar incidents.

The match on 26 February was also held online and refunds were issued to fans.

In the statement, the LCK ensured that they were “diligently preparing for potential future DDoS attacks.”

Week 6 resumed on 28 February (Thursday), where the LCK issued a statement extending sincere apologies to fans, team officials, and viewers affected by the DDoS attack incident.

The LCK also expressed anticipation of further attacks as matches progress, highlighting the dynamic nature of the attack patterns.

However, despite multiple investigations and preparations, the match between T1 and FearX on that day faced similar issues, ultimately leading to it being postponed.

The LCK announced this on social media in a post on Thursday evening.

According to the post, the team “did [their] best to prepare” but “the attack pattern and methods changed constantly and unfortunately have made it impossible to continue.”

After negotiations, both T1 and FearX decided to continue the first game and agreed to postpone Game 2 on a later day.

Eventually, pre-recorded matches, including Game 2 of T1 vs FearX were broadcasted on 29 February at 1.30am Singapore Time.

There have been no updates on Riot’s end regarding the potential source of the DDoS attacks and how long it will take to resolve them.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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