How People Nuke Discord Servers (and How to Protect Yourself)

Person holding an iPhone with Discord Open

Nuking means rendering a Discord server unusable. Discord servers can be nuked manually by a user with enough permissions or using a bot to cause widespread damage quickly. Protect against this by being careful in assigning staff roles, adding security bots, and backing up your server.

If you’re a Discord user you may have heard the term “nuking” used to describe a server attack. So what exactly does this mean, how does it happen, and what can you do about it if you’re a server admin?

What is Discord Server Nuking?

Discord server nuking essentially means destroying the server. This is achieved by deleting, banning, and modifying server settings to cause as much damage as possible. The ultimate goal is to render the server unusable, hence the term “nuke.”

Nuking is similar to raiding, with a generally more severe result. Raiding means subjecting a Discord server to an influx of users (both human and bot) to harass, spam, and cause trouble. Nuking goes a step further by attempting to destroy the server entirely.

The term “nuking” isn’t specific to Discord and has a long history on the internet, particularly in gaming circles. For example, nuking in Minecraft would often involve destroying all user creations on a server.

How Attackers Use Nuke Bots to Take Down Discord Servers

Attackers may attempt to nuke a Discord server either manually or using bots that are designed to cause as much damage as possible. Before a server can be damaged beyond repair, the attacker must gain the privileges required to wreak havoc. This often involves social engineering their way up the ladder to gain enough trust to be given a position of power.

Alternatively, an attacker may gain control of an account that has sufficient privileges to cause problems in the same way a Facebook or email account may be compromised.

Creating a moderator role in Discord with server management permissions

Nuking can be done manually by changing settings within Discord to start causing problems for the server owner. Alternatively, countless bots are designed to cause as much damage in as little time as possible. Bots are generally favored since they can perform these actions far quicker, though they’re generally easier to detect.

The sort of damage caused by a nuking attack may include banning users, deleting channels, creating channels, spamming, demoting staff members, deleting roles, deauthorizing bots, and disseminating content that is against the Discord terms of use (followed by mass-reporting).

Protecting Yourself Against Discord Server Nuking

If you own a Discord server, the best defense against a nuke attack is doing due diligence when handing out staff roles. Be incredibly careful who you allow into admin or moderator roles on your server. Not only should you trust the person, but you should also be sure that they have taken precautions to protect their account.

Under Server Settings > Safety Setup you can enable “Require 2FA for moderator actions” which means that moderators must have two-factor authentication setup on their account to access ban, kick, timeout, and delete functions. This makes it harder for bots to access these functions. As the channel owner, you should also have two-factor authentication enabled on your Discord account.

Require 2FA for moderator actions

You can also add bots to your server that can help detect and shut down nuke attempts. Bots like Wick and Security Bot have nuke detection that can quickly shut down nuke attempts as long as the attacker doesn’t disable them first.

You can also create backups of your server using bots like Xenon and ChannelBot, which allows you to restore roles, channels, emoji, permissions, messages, and more in the event of a successful nuke attack.

On top of this, you can employ many of the best defenses against Discord raids and techniques used to prevent Discord spam to help mitigate attacks on your server.

Server Nuked? Report it to Discord

Depending on how the nuke occurred, you may be able to reach out to Discord support for help. Attacks like raiding and nuking are against the Discord terms of service, so you may at least be able to bring the attacker to justice. If the attack was caused by your account being compromised, you can also report that.

Don’t be put off by Discord nukes and other attacks. There are bad actors on every corner of the internet, but Discord can be a valuable tool for group chats, and even rivals Slack or Teams for non-gaming purposes.

Original Article