Are Online Gaming Sites Gambling with IT Security?

Lorna Fimia

August has seen multiple online gaming sites hit with DDoS attacks, causing tournaments to be halted and players needing reimbursement. Some of these attacks have taken domains offline, lasting for several hours and preventing players from entering the system or playing any games.

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, meaning that the target site gets flooded with illegitimate requests, which prevents real customers from connecting. The ‘distributed’ bit means that the traffic is coming from multiple locations, making it even harder to stop.

The chips are down for online gaming sites

3 popular online gaming sites, including PokerStars and Partypoker & Americas Cardroom, were hit with the attacks, some multiple times, over the past couple of weeks. As well as the lost business from the downtime, companies also had to pay out to players that lost their chips increasing the financial loss to the organizations concerned.

Although the industry has had several high profile attacks since 2015, these new attacks highlight what an attractive target it has become. The online gaming, gambling, and e-Sports industry is growing substantially in size and revenue, and the high volumes of data and financial transactions handled make it a major target for hackers.

This recent rise in DDoS attacks in the industry has come at a very inconvenient time. September is a big month in online poker gaming, with the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) taking place throughout. In 2017, there were a massive 900 events with a total $117 million in the guaranteed prize pool. If these sites and others similar don’t get their mitigation sorted, they could be set to pay out thousands, or millions, in reimbursements. And that could be the least of their worries if there is also an underlying more malicious attack or threat of extortion.


Will the busiest month for online gambling site make them a target for more DDoS attacks.
The chips are down for online gambling sites

What needs to change?

Clearly, Denial of Service is a problem for online gaming sites and according to the latest State of the Internet report from Akamai, DDoS attacks are on the rise – by 16%. Cybersecurity needs to be taken seriously as a business risk, as a DDoS attack can completely shut down a digital business’s ability to operate.

To ensure the safety of their customers’ data, the affected companies need to review their DDoS mitigation systems and approach. Installing software that can reroute the traffic via ‘scrubbing’ and detect the attacks earlier to better deal with the consequences would help to reduce the downtime and monetary losses.

Technology and hackers are evolving at an incredible rate so it is always good practice to regularly check that your DDoS mitigation is working correctly. Conducting a DDoS test on your mitigation system can help expose where the issues lie in your system and help test the staffing process too.

This attack simulation can help reveal where your mitigation needs updating or improvement, therefore reducing the consequences in the event of a real DDoS attack.

With a pedigree in DDoS testing and mitigation, activereach provide a bespoke range of DDoS solutions tailored for your business’ needs. Call us on 0845 625 9025 to find out more.