While it’s good that the iGaming sector is growing fast, it brings issues such as security challenges. As more people come online- five billion as of the end of 2021- the impetus for criminals increases. More people online means more transactions and more money, resulting in more opportunities for illegal activity. The betting and gambling sector is particularly prone to be targeted by criminals.
Examples of security challenges
In 2015, betting giant William Hill was subject to a huge distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). This saw the site inundated with traffic. This traffic was generated by hackers and was not real, thus crashing the site and preventing customers from accessing it. The timing of the attack was problematic as it stopped thousands of players from betting on the UEFA Champion League final.
Another online gambling platform, SuperCasino, was also subject to a significant data breach in early 2020. Administrators found hackers had stolen vital information. While no card details or other financial information was taken, having people’s personal data out there caused significant issues.
Then in 2021, hackers targeted Chinese online gambling sites with a particularly vicious bit of software. The BIOPASS malware captured the screens of live streaming players and tricked them into downloading a malware loader. This loader masqueraded as a legitimate installer, but once on the machine, posed a significant big security issue.
Methods used by criminals
Asides from these real-life examples of security challenges, criminals use some other methods to target the gambling industry. One particularly tricky one is account takeovers. While this does not directly attack the entire operator, it is complex to mitigate. Account takeovers are where a criminal gains access to a legitimate player’s account and then changes data to gain control. The owner is locked out, and the account can be used for laundering money, gambling with the owner’s card, and other fraudulent activities.
Another example of security challenges is identity theft. This is where criminals adopt someone else’s name, personal data, and payment details without permission. They may use it to open an account and gamble without the victim’s knowledge. This data is bought on the dark web for a few cents and then exploited to scam unsuspecting players out of money.
One of the other threats that have to be considered is viruses. Ransomware is a damaging piece of software that freezes or blocks the functionality of a device while demanding money. It can also threaten to delete or distribute data if money is not paid. Trojan horses are another risk as they infect a computer or device without the user knowing. It can then access personal information such as ID documents, card details, passwords, and social security numbers. These are just a couple of examples.
How gambling companies can protect themselves from security challenges
With risks constantly evolving, it is a challenge for gambling companies to remain on top of things. But there are several ways companies are fighting back. Firstly, paying attention to all compliance matters is a key way to stay on top of things. For example, they are vetting all third parties, including payment providers, software providers, game providers, etc. You need to ensure they align with applicable standards and don’t risk leaks or breaches regarding client data. Being compliant will also ensure you stay ahead when it comes to evolving risks, and it will help you figure out how to combat them.
Another fundamental way to mitigate security challenges is through using technological tools. AI has become a great way of spotting suspicious behaviour or breaches and taking action against it. Similarly, it can be used to authorise access to accounts and periodically check the person using the account is the owner. Blockchain can help decentralise records and secure digital identities. This makes it a lot harder for nefarious actors to gain access. Biometrics is also being used at the login stage and also to authorise deposits and withdrawals as they are extremely hard to fake.
Fast Offshore are not specialists in cyber security, but we are experts in gambling, compliance, and corporate services. For over 24 years, we have been providing services to clients in the industry, helping them set up their businesses. We also help entrepreneurs maintain their operations in terms of licensing and compliance, as well as other company matters. Company incorporation, structuring, compliance, licensing, and payments can all be taken care of by our team. To find out more, contact us today.