NJ attack highlights cyber threat

NJ attack highlights cyber threat

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 Totally Gaming
Four online casinos were targeted over the weekend

A major cyber assault on online gaming sites in New Jersey has again highlighted the threat Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks pose to the industry.

State and federal authorities are investigating an attack on four Atlantic City sites, which were apparently targeted over the busy Fourth of July weekend by a hacker who promised more disruption unless a ransom was paid in Bitcoin. It is the biggest assault against online gaming sites since they were legalised in New Jersey in 2013, with each attack lasting approximately 30 minutes.

“At least four casinos were impacted and experienced downtime,” said David Rebuck, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) director. “We’re continuing to monitor.”

Rebuck said that the four internet websites were the targets of a so-called DDoS, an attack that floods a network with information, rendering it inoperable. While he did not name the casinos affected in the latest hacking incident, Rebuck said the regulatory body believes it knows the identity of those responsible.

Among the agencies now investigating include the NJDGE, the State Police, the FBI and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

The threat of DDoS attacks is nothing new for the gaming industry, and Ashley Stephenson of web security firm Corero told news website International Business Times that the attack coming over the busy Fourth of July weekend was predictable. 

Stephenson said: "Betting sites are highly dependent on peak times during sporting events. These are their most critical times, when people are betting on dynamic odds in unison with a live stream.

“If a gambling service goes offline during the Grand National, people will click to their next favourite gambling service. So, the cost today is in downtime. It's like forcing a high street shop to be closed for a day.

“There won't be a crisis of internet crime. It's just a nuisance. Like real-life, with credit card fraudsters or people who knock on old people's doors pretending to be electricians, we'll always have these bottom feeders, this background level of activity. It's part of having an online business.”


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