Why Is Cybersecurity So Important In The Online Gambling Industry?
Brick and mortar casinos have been targets of criminals as far as they have existed. They have been robbed (think of the movie Ocean’s eleven) and cheated with chip switching scams and card counting teams. With the birth of online gambling, criminals moved to cyberspace, and it is now hackers that we have to be afraid of. Cybersecurity in gambling industry is as important as it is in a bank or other financial institution.
A lot can go wrong and if there is a data leak in a casino, the effects can be devastating, and the casino might have to close its doors forever. In this piece, we are discussing cybersecurity with Michelle Thomas (find out more about her) who is an iGaming expert from Canada.
Cybersecurity in casinos
An online casino may seem like a playground with lots of games, but in fact, there’s a lot going on these sites. Apart from having games, they maintain databases with all the players’ personal and financial data. They have payment systems and apps, and all of these can be targeted by hackers.
The very best online casino sites all apply SSL encryption as this is an industry standard. This technology encrypts all communications between the players and the site so that the data is unreadable for anybody else. To ensure that a website uses SSL encryption, look at the URL of the site. If it starts with https: \\ it is secure, but if it starts with http: \\ it is not a secure site.
Types of cyber attacks
There are many ways cybercriminals can do harm to both the players and the casino itself. These are the types of attacks that can happen:
- DDoS and Ransomware Attacks
DDoS stands for distributed denial of service attacks. In the gaming environment, this can happen to esports players when they are playing in a tournament. The attack disrupts the player’s internet service, and the game cannot be finished.
The casino itself can also be targeted by ransomware and DDoS attacks whereby the hackers can hold players’ data and demand a ransom for it. When this happens to a casino (or any business for that matter) it can be devastating. Imagine, you find out that your personal and financial information was stolen from your casino. Would you play there again? You could think that casinos may try to hide this from the media, however, GDPR regulations require public disclosure of any data breaches as soon as they have become apparent. This only applies to European licensed casinos though. So, if you are a player from Canada, this is one more reason to choose Malta, UK or Gibraltar registered casinos.
- Game integrity
The games themselves can also be targets of cybercriminals. A casino is only as good as its games and if these games become compromised players will surely have a negative experience and will not trust the brand anymore. Hackers may try to manipulate the games and influence the game results that can be devastating to the casino. It is very important for casinos to only feature games that have been certified for fairness and safety by third party agencies such as eCogra.
Speaking of games, find out which movie stars inspired online casino games by clicking on the link.
- Fraud and money laundering
Threats can come from the players themselves. Casinos have been fined and even closed down for not following anti-money laundering standards. There should be procedures in place to check the source of funds when players make large deposits. Depositing money with stolen credit cards is another threat. When this happens, the casino does not only lose the money but also their reputation gets damaged.
- Account takeovers
The importance of setting a strong password cannot be stressed enough. Unfortunately, account takeovers do happen in casinos. When a hacker manages to break into a player’s account, they can top up the player account with saved credit card details and spend the money.
There are many ways cybercriminals can damage casinos and their players. Cybersecurity casinos use SSL encryption but sometimes it is not enough to prevent attacks on databases, payment systems and the games themselves.