|Denial of service attacks on UK online bookmakers have made the news recently, now a study by BBC News online and Netcraft, the Internet monitoring company has shown how sustained and widespread that attack has become.|
The study began monitoring the UK's top 20 betting sites since 1 March.
William Hill, Ladbrokes, Sporting Bet, Coral Eurobet, Victor Chandler, Blue Square, Betfair, Betdaq, Bet365 and Paddy Power are amongst the 20 being monitored.
Netcraft measures website performance by how long it takes a specific server or website to respond when a data is sent.
33 outages have been reported so far. Only five of the betting sites have had no outages over the monitoring period. Not all outages, however, indicate a denial of service attack. Some are down to site maintenance, some to heavy traffic periods.
BBC News Online contacted the sites to ask what was causing the outages, but none would comment on the cause of the problems.
Mike Prettejohn, president of Netcraft, said: 'In the general case, we can't say authoritatively why a site isn't available, just when it isn't available.' He said surges in response times followed by an outage could be the result of a routing problem, bandwidth congestion, or server overload. However, last week several sites admitted that they had been targeted by the DoS blackmailers, who threaten DoS attacks unless a certain amount is paid.
William Hill, Betdaq, Totalbet and UKBetting all claimed to have been attacked or to have received extortion demands before the Cheltenham Festival on 15 March. Betting sites are particularly susceptible to this type of attack due to the time-sensitive nature of the business.
A spokesman for William Hill said the attack started on 11 March and continued into Friday. 'We knew we would be a target at some stage,' he said. 'The crux is that we will not give into extortion,' he said, 'we never have and never will.' The spokesman added that DoS attacks on betting sites by extortionists were a global problem. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power also suffered a DoS attack during the Superbowl.