The gambling market is one of the most vulnerable markets in the world for cybercrimes. Due to their interlinked systems of transactions, cyberattacks against gambling institutions often affect more than just the casino. Here, we will discuss how the market has adapted to these challenges.
The gambling market has rapidly grown during the past decades as a result of the globalization and digitization of the world. However, even physical gambling institutions are at higher risk of integrity attacks and cybercrimes. This has been evident in major blockbuster movies such as George Clooney’s “Ocean’s Eleven” (2011).
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Cyber-crime risks in the gambling world
But what crimes are gambling institutions actually at risk for? And how are they attempting to prevent them?
The biggest anticipated risk for online casinos equates to that of all other cyber-risk for transactions online – the risk of being hacked. More often than not, users utilize the same emails and the same or similar passwords for a majority of their online accounts. This is true for transaction-based accounts as well as social accounts.
The use of saved information further adds to this issue, as it would only require a hacker to break into one account to be able to access others, including transactional accounts.
Many online gambling institutions are countering this by the use of well-regulated gaming licenses. Comparative services, such as cherryredcasino.com, often mark down these licenses and other security measures that online casinos have taken so that customers can make safer platform choices.
Slot machine is a popular form of gambling. The exciting lights and sounds make slot machines one of the most popular sections of the casino
The risk for cyber-crimes does not only lie with online platforms. The reason why brick-and-mortar casinos are at risk is because of how integrated and interlinked casino transactions tend to be. Physical casinos often link their own accounts and finances to a large range of other operations, including marketing, mobile apps, customer service, social media, accounting data, and player tracking.
Furthermore, people usually travel to casinos. Therefore, physical casinos often link their transactions with nearby hotels. This means increased exposure and usage of personal data, such as credit card information, which can then be connected to the large sums at the casinos.
This is why it is often reported that both gaming supplies and hotels are closed following a cyberattack against a gambling institution. The latest large one took place in Tasmania only a year ago.
How cyberattacks against the gambling market happen
Cybercrimes against the gambling market usually happen in one of two ways. Either the criminal groups hijack individual accounts and get access to a large amount of information through that account. Alternatively, they do what’s called a ransomware attack. In this case, a criminal group may access a certain type of information – be it personal accounts or software etc. – which they then offer to return for a hefty ransom.
Ransomware attacks are especially harmful as they force the gambling institution to lose in several ways. For one, they’ve lost credibility by gaining a reputation as a high-risk cybercrime institution. This will likely result in a loss of customers over time. Secondly, they are harmed on a political scale as paying the ransom ultimately plays into the hands of the attackers and technically supports the crime.
How is the market working to prevent these types of attacks?
The first thing that gaming operators can do and are doing to prevent being the victim of cybercrimes is by making sure to not use any outdated or aged software. Older software tends to have weaker security walls.
The reason why they are kept is typically because they are fan favorites, which makes sure that they provide access to large funds. A ransomware attack on the software of a specific game may also lessen the game’s public value overall, and is therefore not profitable in the long run.
An increasingly popular strategy is the implementation of cryptocurrency transactions. These are generally viewed as more secure due to their decentralized financial system and the full transparency of the blockchain process.
Outsourcing security monitoring
Another tactic that gaming operators can use is by outsourcing security monitoring to security operations providers. A common problem in preventing cyber-security is a general lack of monitoring staff amongst gaming companies, which is why outsourcing may help.
Cybercrimes are becoming an increasingly large risk, and not just for the gambling market. Due to their digital nature, they are hard to predict and even more difficult to trace unless the perpetrators make themselves known through obvious ransom requests. However, measures are being taken to lessen the risks.
The most important lesson of all was put into words by the former Tasmanian minister and security expert Terry Aulich after the cyberattack last year: “I think it’s a view we have in Tassie about all sorts of things, that somehow or other the awful things that go on overseas, whether it’s in IT or whatever, that it’s not going to happen here in dear little old Tassie.” Lesson learned: Always be prepared, wherever you are.
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