Last week Akamai released its annual “State Of The Internet” report which records and aggregates all activity across the World Wide Web. According to the report DDoS attacks during the third quarter are up by 180% from last year. A DDoS attack, or distributed denial of service, is a type of cyber-attack that involves overloading a website’s bandwidth with hundreds or thousands of requests. All these requests are sent simultaneously, effectively slowing the site down to a crawl and rendering it inoperable.
Out of all measured DDoS attacks this past year nearly 50% were directed at online gambling sites. Online gambling sites, especially offshore sites aimed at US customers are easy targets because they are not protected by the law. These sites can also be targeted during peak hours, and attackers will ask for a payoff before relinquishing the attack. Defending against a DDoS attack can be difficult, especially for smaller companies without a full-time webmaster.
Online gambling is attacked nearly twice as much as the software and technology sector, which receives roughly 25% of all attacks. According to John Summers, Akamai vice president, “Akamai has been seeing greater numbers of denial of service attacks every quarter, and the upward trend continued in the most recent quarter. Although recent DDoS attacks were on average smaller and shorter, they still posed a significant cloud security risk.”
No site can be completely safe from DDoS attacks, and these attacks have been confirmed on companies such as Betfair, PokerStars, Unibet, and the large Swedish gambling site, SvenskaSpel. In July, even the regulated New Jersey market received four separate attacks. During these times sites were knocked offline for roughly half an hour by a cyber attacker who demanded to be paid in bitcoins or he would unleash a wave of stronger attacks.
DDoS attackers are extremely hard to track, even for law enforcement, as they tend to be computer savvy individuals who are skilled at hiding behind the 0’s and 1’s.
As one of the largest technology security firms in the US Akamai knows that attacks will only continue to increase as more dollars begin to flow through online sites. Any site with a large amount of users is prone to attack and should always be on the lookout.
Another industry that is often targeted for DDoS attacks is the multiplayer online games industry. Popular games such as World of Warcraft or Counterstrike have had to deal with many DDoS attacks over the past few years. While these attacks can be stopped by a skilled webmaster; it takes a lot of time and effort to do so.
One idea is to keep a low profile in regards to how much money your company is making. It is unlikely that DDoS cyber-attackers will waste their time attacking a company with little traffic and low reported earnings.
As we move forward into 2016, the online gambling industry can only hope that better defenses are discovered to fend off these increasing DDoS attacks. If not, it may pose to be a difficult year for many companies.
Image source: flipboard.com