Few industries take cyber security as seriously as online gambling. Since the very first casino and poker websites went online over 20 years ago, protecting against fraud – from both the casino and the player’s perspective – has been of paramount concern. Maintaining world class security is absolutely essential for player/customer confidence – which is why it’s been a number of years since any major casino has faced a serious compromise. Yet this doesn’t mask the fact that online casinos come under attack every day, and with the ever increasing sophistication of hackers and the potential enormous riches to gain, the battle has never been more tightly fought.
In this article we’ll take a look at the major issues that surround how essential world class cyber security is for online casinos, and the potential dangers should their standards ever slip.
The Many Risks Of Hacking
The dream hacking exploit for any cyber criminal would be to write a script that allows them to take over a game without detection. Imagine being able to take a seat at an online casino blackjack table and win every hand you play? All reputable online casinos – much like their bricks and mortar equivalents – have safeguards or cut/off points to detect suspicious sequences of wins, but a savvy hacker taking a little but often could make a fortune this way.
Plenty of online casinos feature the same games under license – so this exploit could be used over literally dozens of sites. As far as we know nothing of this scale has yet occurred (it’s not likely a casino would go public had such an event happened) but you can bet there’s teams of hackers out there working towards such a goal.
Hacking presents a very real risk in regards to data security. Online casinos are no different to any other web based business in that they need to securely store their customers personal and financial details. This presents an entirely different level of risk as the major casinos have literally millions of customers – making them a prime target for hackers wishing to appropriate this kind of information. Online casinos use the same level of security measures as major banks – yet if they can still occasionally be compromised, who’s to say a casino may not be next?
There is also the increasing risk of app-based hacking. Even though casinos claim that their apps are if anything an even more secure means of playing games than via a browser, the truth is that mobile play is easier to intercept and manipulate via 4G signals and shared WiFi. Apps can also me manipulated by publishing fake editions on marketplaces laden with malware.
How The Casino Industry Prevents Cyber Crime
Worrying as the above scenarios are, the truth is that as a whole the online casino industry has an impressive track record compared to most in preventing losses via cyber crime. There’s a number of reasons for this, all of which basically add up to one simple precept – casinos do not like to lose money!
In order to gain an operating license casinos have to match a number of criteria, and one of the most important is to demonstrate that they do everything possible to maintain their security. This is why online casinos use the theoretically unbreakable 128-bit standard of encryption alongside remote back-ups of all their data/customer information. In theory this means that even if a site comes under a massive denial of service attack and is knocked offline for a while, the data is still going to be securely under lock and key. This is no figure of speech either – server rooms are kept literally within sites featuring casino vault levels of security.
Online casinos are no different to their ‘real-life’ counterparts in being experts at loss prevention. As mentioned above suspicious patterns will be automatically red-flagged and customers placed under review before any payout is honored. This does actually happen when players hit a legitimate winning streak and make significant winnings – it’s simple due diligence and the same principle that any other business would use. After all if a random number generation program has been compromised and been manipulated the ramifications for the entire industry – not just that single operator – would be enormous.
Future Trends In Casino Cyber Security
The online gambling industry is one of the most tech-savvy going. Not only do they adapt early to new technology and have an uncanny knack of predicting future trends, but they also place enormous resources into maintaining the security of their networks. Given how casinos are trying to make money play as accessible as possible, there’s all sorts of new potential security risks to address. Mobile play is secure enough at the moment, but how is that going to work out when the predicted increase in peer-to-peer play takes off in coming years? Same with SMS based methods of depositing funds – an online casino could theoretically be a great place to launder out money, especially with the growing number offering BitCoin and similar crypto-currency payouts.
It’s a constant battle with no end in sight, yet if you were to place your money on any industry to be able to protect itself against cyber crime it’d have to be – for now – online gambling.