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Project Lighthouse Attacked: Operation Purge 2

LBP Union and Project Lighthouse are not affiliated with Sony Interactive Entertainment or their subsidiaries. Project Lighthouse is a clean room reverse engineering project of now defunct PlayStation 3 and Vita LittleBigPlanet online features. No proprietary code is distributed. Under no circumstances will we endorse or support piracy. You must have your own copy of the game in order to use the custom features once they become available. When using these features, you release Sony Interactive Entertainment (Sony) as well as any employees or agents of Sony, from any and all liability, corporate, or personal loss caused to you or others by the use of Lighthouse custom servers for LittleBigPlanet.

Project Lighthouse, a community made custom LittleBigPlanet server, has been in development since October 2021. It's been awhile, and we are slowly getting closer to our goal: public beta. We want to be able to let everyone play LBP online again on PlayStation 3 and Vita consoles. However, despite having implemented nearly all the minimum required features for public beta, there's one other thing that's important before we make the plunge: stress testing.

Let's talk about how our Project Lighthouse testing server was attacked (by ourselves!) in Operation Purge 2. Bear in mind, this will get a little technical!

Union Space Corps

Shortly after the Project Lighthouse repository was first created in October 2021, private beta testing of the server was put under the charge of the Union Space Corps. This division of the LBP Union is dedicated to testing an instance of Project Lighthouse, called Beacon, and administrating the private beta community.

The emblem of the Union Space Corps features a lighthouse with three stars and the Union compass rose at the bottom.
Union Space Corps emblem.

As such, the USC's leadership team, called Star Command, is responsible for bringing in new beta testers and conducting tests of the server software to look for bugs. The more bugs the USC can find, the more opportunities developers will have in safeguarding Lighthouse from failure and attack. One of the best ways to do that is to attack your own server. So, that's exactly what we did!

Planning Operation Purge 2

On January 18th, LBPU Lead Protector m88youngling called upon Star Command to ask them to begin plans for stress testing Beacon. Chief Star Commander PorkchopGMX decided that the Lunar New Year would be the date of the stress test, known as Operation Purge 2. The mission was named after a previous stress test conducted last year.

Operation Purge 2 Has Begun  Attention, all pilots. Operation Purge 2 begins now and will last for the next 24 hours.  Your objective is to use whatever means necessary to attempt to take down or disrupt Beacon. The server will be restored from a backup after the operation concludes.  Please remember this is not an excuse to break the rules. Be respectful to others. If you have been asked to keep information secret, continue to maintain discretion.  Please report your activities and results in Operation Purge 2  Additionally, account creation today is suspended. Cadets, please continue to list your requested Usernames in ❗Create Account Requests, but we will not be able to begin fulfilling these requests again until Monday.  Good luck, and have fun trying to break stuff!
The announcement for Operation Purge 2.

Operation Purge 2 was planned to be stress test upon Beacon itself by its own users that would last for 24 hours. Everyone in the beta test was informed in advance that it was happening and were asked to plan their attack upon Beacon. It might be spammed levels, attempting to circumvent safety features, or attacking the server itself in a denial-of-service attack.

Lead Protector m88youngling predicted that the mission wouldn't result in server downtime. However, the team was surprised by the results.

Website Downtime Detected

The stress test began at midnight, Sunday January 22nd. Five hours later, the website came under attack. The first attack lasted for a little over three and a half minutes. Later that hour, the website went down again for nearly five minutes. The outages continued to get longer and longer. The longest outage took place at 9:52 PM EST, lasting 25 minutes!

***    Beacon Outage Report: Core/Website    ***
*** Compiled at 11:59 PM EST Sun Jan 22 2023 ***

Filter: Date Ascending

[502 Bad Gateway] Jan 22, 2023 05:07:05 AM EST:  217 seconds
[502 Bad Gateway] Jan 22, 2023 05:53:22 AM EST:  293 seconds
[502 Bad Gateway] Jan 22, 2023 01:21:15 PM EST:  295 seconds
[502 Bad Gateway] Jan 22, 2023 05:36