The upcoming FIFA Qatar World Cup 2022 should be the cause of much celebration. Located in the sweltering but swanky emirate, the world’s soccer pinnacle is bound to have billions of eyeballs glued to it when the games start in earnest this fall.
Bots Target Sportsbooks and Disrupt Services
If you are a sportsbook operator, this sounds like a lot of betting handle (and revenue) coming your way, but according to Imperva, an online analytics and security firm, attacks against bookmakers in June were up, with 25% of all distributed denial of service attacks or DDoS targeting sportsbooks.
Army of bots is marshalled to send requests to websites which get so badly clogged up that they can no longer service requests. This has already happened during the Euros disrupting sports betting for many customers. Imperva argued that during the Euros, bot attacks spiked by 96% compared to a month before the event.
According to Imperva, 40% of gambling sites have been attacked in the past 12 months with 80% of them being the victim of repeated attacks by DDoS incursions. But Imperva notices that DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly common across the board with attacks clocked in against all businesses. In Q2, these attacks were three times bigger than attacks in Q1 2022.
Hackers Hurt from Inflation Too
One of the reasonings behind the increased incidence of the attacks is that hackers may be feeling the squeeze of costs of living, and they are hoping that DDoS ransomware can get them a financial gain, an Imperva spokesperson told Verdict, a publication.
The risks that gambling companies face are very real, cautions Imperva, and argues that these attacks could result in estimated losses of £1 billion annually. This comes down to roughly £115,000 per hour, the analytics firm says. Therefore, businesses must be equipped with the tools to mitigate DDoS attacks in seconds, argues Imperva data scientist Yuriy Arbitman.
Arbitman argues that targeted DDoS attacks usually happen during big events such as the World Cup, Euros or Wimbledon, raising the stakes for companies who find themselves looking to secure a big chunk of their annual revenue from such tournament betting injections. Extensive losses can be incurred over a half-hour period, the specialist cautions, when hackers target rush hours.
The good news is that cybersecurity tools are becoming better and that gambling firms today understand the need to allocate sufficient resources to prevent (and mitigate) such attacks and stay ahead of criminals. Billions could hinge on how well companies adapt to these challenges.