Hackers hit the Irish National Lottery with a major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack last week that disabled the lottery’s website, as well as free-standing ticket kiosks.
Though the attack was short lived, only about two hours total, its scope should be enough to leave lottery officials plenty shaken. After all, most DDoS attacks focus, and impact, an operator’s website. The fact that this attack shut down free-standing sales kiosks is deeply disturbing.
Officials at Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), the company that runs he Irish National Lottery, credits a robust DDos defense system for stopping the attack within hour of its start.
In a statement to the press, PLI officials stressed that the attack was short-lived and did not cause widespread damage saying:
The issues were resolved by the National Lottery’s DDoS protection systems, limiting disruption and restoring all operations within two hours. This incident is still under investigation. However, we can confirm that at no point was the National Lottery gaming system or player data affected.
The attack took place just hours ahead of a weekly drawing that had swelled up to €12 million ($12.97 USD), making it the lottery’s biggest jackpot in more than 18 months. Hackers frequently target operators, especially bookmakers, in the hours ahead of large events.
Attacking during busy times gives them more leverage when they eventually demand money to halt their activities. As of this writing, PLI has not commented on whether the hackers approached them with any particular demands.
That said, the Irish National Lottery will offer another very large jackpot this week and officials are bracing themselves for another potential DDos attack at that time.