The online gambling industry ranks number one in a category that no business wants anything to do with, ransomware attacks. According to a recent study by NTT Security, roughly 20 percent of all ransomware attacks are aimed at online gambling sites.
Ransomware is the practice of criminals taking over a website and, literally, holding it hostage until the site owner pays up a ransom for the return of his or her site. Most ransomware hackers demand a relatively small amount of ransom in the hopes that most site owners will decide paying up is the most economical technique for getting their sites back, rather than going to the authorities.
The report found the online gambling industry was targeted more than any other industry and that these attacks comprise a full 20 percent of all ransomware attacks. That’s really saying something, given the fact that ransomware attacks were up 350 percent in 2017.
One reason that hackers like to target online gambling sites is that many of them, especially sportsbooks, work in a time sensitive environment. That is to say, if they attack a sports betting site on the even of a big sporting event like the Super Bowl, the victim is more likely to just pay the ransom, usually in bitcoin, and get their site operational.
Geographically speaking, the kinds of criminals who run these scams target their attacks in regions where online gambling sites are both legal and plentiful. That means that sites in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are their favorite targets. Sites in these regions account for a full 35 percent of all ransomware attacks.
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