Hackers are increasingly targeting online gambling sites with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that could potentially cost big bucks in lost business.

Even worse, these DDoS attacks are incredibly cheap to mount, making them a problem the industry will be dealing with more and more in the years to come.

Though many (maybe even most) DDoS attacks on online gambling sites go unreported, some data is available and was recently published in infograph form by GoldSecurity.com, an internet security firm.

Gold Security outlines how hackers rent botnets, programs that are used to flood an online gambling site’s servers with phony service requests, for just $40 an hour. If executed in the lead up ahead of a major sporting event, like a Premier League or NFL game, the resulting lost business can cost site operators tens of thousands of dollars an hour.

The firm’s report also suggests that these attacks are far more common than you might suspect. By their calculations, a full 90% of gambling industry sites will be hit by DDoS attacks in the next year. About half of those attacks will be launched by industry rivals and almost none of the culprits will be caught.

What makes modern DDoS especially insidious is that they are frequently launched intermittently. That means they hit just long enough to cause a disruption, leaving frustrated site administrators scrambling for answers to a problem that’s suddenly cleared up.

Some hackers attack online gambling sites for fun, while others focus on profit. Golden Security reports on several cases where the hackers asked for relatively small payouts of only a couple thousand dollars…paid out in relatively untraceable Bitcoin. (Though it’s safe to say that plenty more sites have paid off hackers in private.)

In short, DDos attacks on online gambling sites are a potential drag on revenue that almost every operator is going to be dealing with sooner or later.

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