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Four New Jersey Online Gambling Sites under Cyber Attacks
- July 8, 2015 By Oliver Young -
Four New Jersey online gambling sites were under cyber attacks last week. According to NJ.com, a site that provides the latest New Jersey news, state and federal authorities are already investigating the four separate cases that have been caused by a single hacker who threatened to make even more disruption unless he was given a ransom in Bitcoin.
David Rebuck, the director of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, revealed that the first attack was launched in Thursday, only a day before the start of the three-day 4th of July weekend. There were other attacks over the weekend as well. He said that “at least four casinos were impacted and experienced downtime.” Rebuck also revealed that the attacks lasted for about 30 minutes and that they were continuously monitoring the situation since then.
The short assaults were just a treat and soon after they ended the casinos received messages claiming that a new and more powerful attack would start in the following 24 hours if they fail to make a Bitcoin payment. The amount of coins demanded hasn’t been revealed yet.
This is Not the First Time Casinos to be Attacked by Hackers
Those who are well informed about the happenings in the US gambling industry may remember that in February, 2014, there were similar hacker attacks. However, then the target were land-based casinos owned by Sheldon Adelson. Nevertheless, the investigation that took months revealed that the hackers were Iranians who had political motives; this is not the case with the latest cyber assaults.
The anonymous attacker is now hunted by both state and federal agencies, including the State Police, the FBI, Division of Gaming Enforcement and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Despite the fact that in the past there have been cyber attacks whose main targets were casinos or casino sites, the director of the centre for Gaming Research David Schwartz said that US gaming sites cannot be considered to be a major target of hackers yet.
He pointed out that “it happens quite a bit offshore” and added that such attacks usually come alongside ransom demands. The ransom is often in Bitcoin since transactions in this virtual currency cannot be tracked.
The Hacker is a Known Actor
David Rebuck refused to inform the public what sites were attacked by the hacker. However, what he revealed was that the US gambling operators think they know who is responsible for the assaults. Rebuck said that “He’s a known actor” and pointed out that the person has done the same in the past. Nevertheless, he refused to comment any further.
Online gambling is still not reaching its full potential in New Jersey. This sector is only a small percentage of the total gambling revenue of the state and online casinos in May, 2015, won around $12.5 million. The state in January released a one-year online gaming report that showed numbers which were below the initial expectations of the authorities and the operators.