A game developed by Ukrainian software engineers, ‘Play for Ukraine’, which crowdsources and gamifies participation in distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks on specified Russian government and media websites, is now gaining popularity.
Based on the popular number puzzle game 2048, in Play for Ukraine, each action by a participant from anywhere in the world aids in a DDOS attack on a particular Russian web server.
According to reports, the game became live on February 28, soon after Russia began its so-called “special military operation” against Ukraine.
The game developers shared several FAQs, directions to play and described the objective behind the game. It also has social media channels—Twitter, Instagram and Telegram.
On its Twitter page, the developers shared a screenshot of real-time users’ data on March 16 that showed over 6,000 users in the past 30 minutes. A majority of them were mobile users (54%), followed by desktop and tablet users, 45.4% and 0.6%, respectively.
The developers noted on the site: “Your every move helps us attack the websites used to serve the Russian army.”
It asked the players to turn on the VPN to begin the game “from the territory of Ukraine”. However, for players from other countries, the VPN use is optional or not required.
This numeric puzzle game requires only a rudimentary understanding of mathematics. The game is accessible even to teenagers and others.
“Use your arrow keys (or swipe) to move the tiles. Times with the same number merge into one then they touch. Add them up to reach 2048,” the gaming instruction states.
On its social media, the developers wrote in the bio section: “Open http:// playforukraine.life and help Ukraine right now!”
However, the game makers don’t reveal the names of the Russian websites they’re targeting for security and strategic reasons. However, the Play for Ukraine Twitter account has recorded a number of victories, which is Russian site takedowns.
According to the developers, the game has been verified by the Ukrainian Cyber Police, a law enforcement agency within the Ministry of Internal Affairs focusing on cybercrime.
In late February, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov had called on his country’s population of software developers to form an “IT army” to conduct both defensive and offensive cyber operations against Russia.
The Lviv group that created Play for Ukraine states in the game’s FAQ section that it plans to collaborate with the IT Army on future projects.
It is a reminder of Plague Inc, another game, which went viral after reports began to suggest that the novel coronavirus was taking a shape of a pandemic and already started to spread across the world after its emergence in China.