|According to law enforcement agencies, there are an increasing number of reports of organized criminal gangs carrying out denial-of-service (DDos) attacks. Their motive? To blackmail online gambling and ecommerce websites. |
A few weeks ago, Online Casino News reported of Dos attacks, which crippled the WorldPay system. It affected thousands of online casinos, who rely on Worldpay for their online transactions and payment services. In a similar incident, Wordplay.com, and over six online businesses were targeted by 'cyber assailants' who demanded £50,000.
Sensing the huge opportunity, organized criminals, not hackers are using threats of attacking websites and online casino operators, with threats ranging from extorting them to make them pay or hack their websites.
DK Matai of MI2G, which monitors unauthorised computer hacking says criminal syndicates operating from Russia have targeted large online payment systems belong to gambling sites.
A typical criminal syndicate extortion to online gambling and payment companies would range from 'You have to pay us $50,000 or we will start Dos attacks' to 'If you don't pay us what we want, then we'll make sure you don't have any customers'.
Several companies, with high stakes in terms of revnues or large customer base are giving in as they have revenues of over $50,000 per week, and the damage would be more, from the Dos attacks.
Technically, Dos attacks involve flooding a website with malicious traffic, and exhausting the servers with false requests. This results in frustrated customers, who will point their browser elsewhere, maybe to a competing website. Currently, Russia and large parts of Eastern Europe and now Brazil, boasts of high level of programming talent, and the countries are largely unregulated with no cyberlaws or government monitoring. Just about anyone with access to the Internet, and basic knowledge of hacking and Dos tools and software can start an attack or threaten a website, and still get away.
MI2G estimate that the damage to the global economy in terms of both denial of service and productivity losses reached over $10bn in October, alone. The agency works closely with the FBI and Britain's Hi-Tech National Crime Unit (NCU).
Inspite of efforts to curtail such web extortion, the victims or the targeted businesses are not admiting or reporting the threat, as it might put them at risk, and or intimidate customers in making a transaction to an hacked online casino.