Over the last one decade, the online gambling has tripled, ballooning into a $40 billion industry. That seems like a great thing for the people involved in the industry, and for the most part, it is. However, a $40 billion dollar industry also means 40 billion reasons hackers would target such sites. And how are those attackers doing so? With DDoS attacks. While most of the online businesses are vulnerable to DDoS attacks, there are few that have managed to keep their online business safe from hackers and other attacks. Today, we are going to discuss what makes online gambling sites so vulnerable to DDoS attacks, and how these sites can protect themselves from devastation.
The ABCs of DDoS
Starting out with the basics, a DDoS is a distributed denial of service attack, which renders a website, server, application, or other internet resource unavailable to its users by overwhelming it with attack traffic from what’s called a botnet, which is a network of computers that have been infected by malware and are being controlled by an attacker. A DDoS attack can disrupt use by knocking the target site completely offline, or by slowing it enough that it is rendered unusable.
Why the house is far from always winning when it comes to DDoS
You already read that the online gambling industry is worth $40 billion. With that kind of money in play, online gambling websites are targets of both run-of-the-mill hackers that are seeking financial gain as well as competitors who know that something as simple as lagging page load times will send gamblers to another website.
Online gambling websites are juicy targets for hackers in search of financial gain since there is a tremendous amount of financial information and customer data stored on them. Attackers will often use DDoS attacks as a smokescreen, so while a business is scrambling to deal with the outage and consumer anger caused by a DDoS attack, attackers may be unleashing malware or viruses designed to steal customer information, financial information, and even intellectual property. In addition to the losses caused by the theft itself, this will also cause a massive loss of trust from consumers, which will lead to a shriveled customer base.
Technological demands and shortcomings
As mentioned, it isn’t just enterprising hackers online gambling sites need to be worried about. Studies have shown that 1 in 2 DDoS attacks are launched by competitors. Since 60% of online gaming such as poker or betting on horse races or sporting events is real-time in nature, there’s no room for even a half-second latency on a gambling website. And a half-second latency can easily be achieved by a competitor with $100 to spend on access to a botnet.
Not only do online gambling sites have to update in real-time and provide users with speedy load times in order to keep pace with Super Bowl Sunday and other big time betting events, but they’re also expected to have 24/7 uptime. At any given moment, millions of people around the world are looking to ante up in games like online poker, and they’re not willing to wait for their favorite website to come back online. In the time they would spend waiting they can easily find a new favorite.
If you’re running a successful online gambling business, chances are you aren’t doing it with a WordPress template and a hosting package from GoDaddy. Since gambling sites require major customization, that very often means they’re operating unsecured proprietary, non-HTTPS custom protocols, leaving them vulnerable to DDoS attacks.
No professional DDoS protection is a risky bet
Since online gambling enthusiasts like numbers, here are a few you should keep in mind: 9 in 20 online companies are targeted by DDoS attacks, and 3 out of 4 that are attacked are attacked more than once. Nine out of 10 sites that have been hit with a DDoS attack have been hit in the last 12 months, and 1 in those 10 has been hit in the last week.
Oh, yeah, one more number you should keep in mind: $40,000. That’s how much an unmitigated attack can cost an organization per hour.
Online gambling sites spent the summer in the news for DDoS attacks when in June an unnamed site was walloped with a five vector DDoS attack that peaked at 100 Gbps, with this massive attack mitigated by professional DDoS protection service provider Incapsula. In July the joy of online gambling was taken away from New Jersey residents, as four major online casinos were targeted by DDoS attacks in the same day. These are just a few examples of what has been a steady onslaught.
Protecting the infrastructure
Online gambling sites have three main things that need to be protected: financial information, site uptime, and site speed. With all of that at stake, the best professional DDoS protection for online gambling sites is undoubtedly infrastructure protection.
With infrastructure protection, as soon as an attack is detected, your DDoS mitigation service will reroute all traffic to a network of scrubbing servers that will allow legitimate traffic through to the site without interruption, while bouncing attack traffic before it reaches your server. Not only does this protect your uptime, site speed, and data and information, but it also keeps you from paying for unwanted traffic or getting your traffic forwarded into an internet black hole by your internet service provider.
On its own, your online gambling site may not have 40 billion reasons to avoid a DDoS attack, but it probably has three, and those three reasons are very, very good. Look into professional DDoS protection before it’s too late.