In the past month several online poker sites, as well as the DraftKings fantasy sports site, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Clearly, even if those companies had DDoS mitigation solutions in place, they were not sufficient to protect their networks. Whether in the video gaming industry or the online gambling industry, DDoS attacks create lag, or delays in communication over the network. This can have a big impact on the quality and accuracy of play, so some nefarious gamers send DDoS attacks to create lag and other disruptions that interfere with the online game and create unfair advantages.
Gamers and gamblers hate to experience any lag or, worse, to be booted offline completely. In response, they’re likely to switch gaming platforms, faster than you can say “Fold”. Online gaming companies are frustrated by DDoS attacks because there’s a two-fold cost: loss of revenue and customer trust. When players leave a platform, they may never come back.
What’s interesting about this latest round of DDoS attacks is that one company (PokerStars) has promised to make reparations for the downtime and loss of tournaments, in an effort to woo some players back. According to Poker Online “Anyone who participated in poker games at the platform between August 12th and August 14th is eligible for a set of freerolls...with a total of $650,000 on offer in prize funds.”
That’s quite an expensive promotion the company is risking, by putting free money on the table to lure back those players who were affected by the DDoS attacks. Apparently, it’s worth it though, as online gaming has such high stakes, with many thousands of players across the globe. If other online gambling companies follow suit (pun intended) with this approach, the cost of DDoS attacks will be that much higher in the long run. Yet DDoS attacks show no signs of waning, meaning that companies that lack adequate DDoS protection may continue to be pressured into ponying up more promotional money to lure players back to their platform.
As for the DraftKings effort to track down the people who hacked its site, they’ll need a lot of luck and diligence, because tracing the origins of such attacks is difficult. The source is either a legitimate third-party server, running a service which has been leveraged by an attacker as part of a reflection/amplification attack, or is a direct flood attack from a single device, or a botnet of many devices in which the IP source addresses are easily spoofed to ones which cannot be associated with the
Corero's real-time, automatic, low-latency protection, combined with its specialized approach to DDoS mitigation in the online multi-player gaming industry allows for extremely high levels of efficacy when it comes to maintaining online availability. With attackers changing their DDoS attack techniques in rapid fashion, gaming organizations require a solution that automatically detects these emerging attacks and mitigates them in real-time, immediately eliminating the DDoS threat to their sensitive environment.
Corero has provided best-in-class, innovative DDoS protection solutions for over a decade; to learn how you can protect your company’s network, contact us.