Hackers Attack Sports Betting Sites

Online bookmaking operations such as Betfair had to fend off attacks by hackers, which knocked some sites offline. The attacks—called DDOS attacks—are designed to take sites down in hopes they will pay to have service restored. Details weren’t always released, but most sites were able to restore service.

It’s called a distributed denial of service hacker attack and they have been plaguing several online bookmakers such as Betfair in recent weeks.

The attacks knock sites offline as hackers hope to exact a ransom to get the sites back in service.

Last week, the Twitter helpdesk of Betfair reported that both its betting exchange and fixed-odds sportsbook had been knocked offline. The company said it was “currently experiencing a DDOS attack on our site, which is stopping all site traffic.”

The company said the shutdown was the result of “a deliberate attempt by a third party to interrupt our service.”

Betfair seems to have fought off the attack saying its site was “stable for now, however we are still monitoring to see if this malicious activity re-occurs.” But problems accessing the site were still apparent after that announcement.

Such attacks are usually tied to large sporting events that a bookmaker could not afford to be offline for such as the recent Grand National racing fixture and the Masters golf tournament.

Earlier this month, Malta-licensed Betat Casino also reported coming under a DDOS attack by unknown attackers seeking payment in Bitcoin. The company called the attack “vicious, massive and widespread and hit our entire range of sub-nets.” The attackers reportedly asked for 10 Bitcoin, or roughly $2,200, in order to stop the harassment.

Other online gambling companies—including PokerStars, Unibet and Tonybet – have reportedly experienced similar connectivity issues over the past week, although the companies have not confirmed they were caused by cyber-attacks.

A distributed denial of service attack is when two or more people flood an online gaming server with communications requests. These illegitimate requests prevent the machine from being able to properly handle real requests, slowing traffic. Eventually, the overload of requests cause the system to crash.