Gaming Operators Plagued by DDoS Attacks

For internet gambling opGaming Operators Plagued by DDoS Attackserators Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can cause irreparable damage. The purpose of most attacks is an attempt to make a service unavailable to its intended users, in this case online bingo and casino players. There are many methods of attack but the most common is the disruption of communication between gaming sites and players. A recent news report indicated that one UK gaming operator paid a cyber-extortionist a £20,000 ($30.5320 USD) ransom. Most believe that this is not an isolated incident and that many successful ransom plots are not reported.

In fact cyber extortion is more common that most people think. The online gaming industry is not the only one affected by extortion demands. In other sectors where downtime and reputational damage can be a disastrous the cost to businesses is usually much more than the ransom demanded. Vanson Bourne conducted a survey that showed that among 100 businesses in the UK 47% of IT managers at companies with more than 3,000 employees had experienced a DDoS attack during the last year. IT managers said the motive behind the attacks was extortion.

Online gambling is a rapidly growing industry and is extremely lucrative for operators. For online gambling companies the ability to offer services 24/7 is essential and any disruption can result in a loss of customers. Customer loyalty can be damages when the ability to place a bet or play a game is lost due to a DDoS attack. Downtime can quickly drive customers to competitors. Most players have a low tolerance for site unpredictability. Ransom demands are common in the igaming industry and usually amount to tens of thousands of dollars or pounds.

In most cases the scammers and extortionists are hiding behind networks in Eastern Europe. Usually scammers time their threats for maximum effect. Many companies are tempted to pay the ransom demands as a cost of doing business. Criminals justify the size of their demands based on the likely financial impact of a successful DDoS attack. For companies that do pay the ransom there is no guarantee that they will not be target again. In face paying the ransom may make them more vulnerable to future attacks. Hackers usually network and companies that have succumbed to demands are likely to be targeted by other hackers.

Operators are spending big bucks on the latest firewalls and security programs to protect their sites from attacks. Unfortunately firewalls were not made to withstand this type of malicious activity and may be overwhelmed by a DDoS attack. Fortunately there are devices that protect operators from unwanted traffic. These devices ensure that legitimate players have full access to games in a safe environment.

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