Akamal, one of the largest content delivery networks, has released new data to suggest that both online gaming and gambling are the biggest targets for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). Worryingly, this trend appears to be on the rise.
The recent report on DDoS attacks, aptly named ‘State of the Internet Security Report', focused on Q3 of 2015 and showed that DDoS attacks overall were on the increase throughout the year. In Q3 alone, there were 1,150 documented cases of DDoS attacks. This is an increase of 180% compared with Q2 and shows a general increase of 23% year on year.
Online Gaming's DDOS Vulnerability
Of these total attacks, the online gaming industry suffered 50% of the attacks. This means that online gaming is taking the majority of the attacks and was notable for being biggest victim of DDoS attacks in the past year.
DDoS: An Introduction
A denial of service attack does exactly what it sounds like. Servers that host a website are basically bombarded with traffic. If you've ever tried to access a site that keeps going down at peak times, then a DDoS is that, but scaled up by thousand of times.
The DDoS traffic is completely meaningless and are just hundreds of thousands of visitation requests, designed to overload the site's servers. They are sent from several locations, so the site can't do anything as simple as block a single IP address to prevent the bombardment. They will simply be overwhelmed until the site crashes.
DDoS attacks aren't used to steal information, since the traffic is only one way. It simply travels to the site to overload it. The attackers will often use it as a means to simply prevent sites that they hate from being online or they may use a DDoS attack to hold a website hostage and then ransom them to end the barrage of data.
Notable Industry Attacks
This is starting to cause serious issues within the online gambling industry in particular. The most notable consequence of this increased criminal attention forced the Winning Poker Network (WPN) to cancel their $1 million Poker event last year. WPN has been attacked several times then.
888, PartyPoker, PokerStars and Betfair Poker have also suffered takedowns and more minor connectivity issues which can all be traced back to DDoS attacks carried out on their services.
Upping Protection In 2016
With DDoS attacks on the rise, it looks like sites, especially of the online gaming category, are going to have put a lot more effort into security in order to avoid being brought to their knees.
Many casinos and other online services have been revealed to have majorly under-invested in security. The recent Talk Talk and Sony debacles are recent examples of this. Hopefully, the continuing increase in attacks will force online services to step up the game, or else 2016 is going to be a very unpredictable year for those of us looking to game online.