Website security company Cloudflare published a Q3 2023 Threat Report showing increased Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on gambling websites, putting Canadian gambling operators at risk.
Over 5.41% of the total DDoS attack traffic recorded by Cloudflare in Q3 targeted gambling and gaming sites, taking over the Cryptocurrency sector that was previously the most targeted. Looking at specific regions, Cloudflare reported a 10% increase in Canadian cyberattacks year-on-year. Canada ranks fifth globally for DDoS attack traffic, behind the US, Singapore, Vietnam, and China. In total, Canada is responsible for a 1.687% share of all DDoS traffic globally.
DDoS attacks flood online gambling sites and other service providers with an overwhelming amount of traffic, leading to service disruptions or shutdowns. In some cases, DDoS attacks have peaked at 201 million requests per second, a significant increase from previous records.
The gambling industry’s vulnerability to such attacks is due to the vast financial transactions it processes daily. Any disruption can lead to significant financial losses and damage the industry’s trust and reputation with players. While motivations behind DDoS attacks can range from competitive rivalries to ransom demands or even simple mischief, the result is a significant threat to the continuity of online services.
Earlier this year, Gateway Casinos suffered a cyberattack that paralyzed some of its systems. The company responded swiftly, shutting down all of its Ontario locations and cutting off internet access. The immediate containment measures were crucial in managing the fallout from the attack.
Other prominent attacks in the gambling industry include the major ransomware attack suffered by MGM, which shut down systems for several days, and an attack on Caesars Entertainment properties, both in September of this year.
Cloudflare’s report identifies multiple countries, including the US, China, Brazil, Germany, and Indonesia, as major sources of DDoS attacks. This indicates that Canadian gambling companies’ digital defenses need to be equipped to handle threats from all over the world.