Increasingly, fraudsters pose as online bookmakers to persuade victims to click on links that infect their computers with malware or lead them to websites where they can hack their banking details.
In the first half of 2020, a recent study by cybersecurity solutions provider Group-IB outlines the types of threats it has seen in malicious emails. In H1 2020, the company says it blocked 9,304 web tools for phishing, up 9 percent from the first half of 2019.
Disturbingly, Group-IB estimates that 69 percent of these assets used a stable SSL / TLS link, up from 33 percent at the end of 2019. Web browsers often flag sites without SSL / TLS certificates before a victim is allowed to continue, thus reducing the efficacy of phishing attempts, however fake or forged certificates are increasingly accessible on the dark web.
46.2 percent of fraudulent emails were emails purporting to come from legitimate online services, while email service providers ranked second with 24.1 percent. The top 5 is filled by financial organisations (10.7 percent), payment systems (4.3 percent) and social networks (4.2 percent).
With 3.8 percent, emails purporting to come from online bookmakers ranked sixth, almost twice the amount reported to be from dating sites. Individuals targeting these fake bookies could bang into their account details without thinking twice, after which their actual betting account could be robbed at will, not to mention their credit cards and other banking networks.
On a side note, Australia’s telecom watchdog recently published an alert in globally approved online casino emails about malware, but that warning came as part of a larger effort to paint every non-Australian platform as crawling with cooties.
Going back to the study, Group-IB says that nearly half (44 percent) of the web domains used in these phishing attempts were of the dot-com type, while Russia was the highest country-specific domain at 9 percent, ahead of Brazil’s runner-up at 6 percent.
With the monthly number of distributed denial of service ( DDoS) attacks experiencing a five-fold increase between February and May of this year as the lockdowns took place and online activity increased, the pandemic was not kind to the online gambling industry in terms of stability.
If there’s an upside to this storey, it’s that Group-IB said just 1 percent of ransomware-contained emails it examined, a sharp decline from the second half of 2019, during which every second email was ransomware. Apparently, this is due to ransomware operators switching from mass attacks to focused corporate network efforts.
The former position of Ransomware as the top malware dog was taken over by spyware, which was contained in 43 percent of emails analysed. With 17 percent, downloaders (which install additional malware) ranked second, closely followed by backdoors providing remote access to victims’ computers (16 percent) and banking Trojans (15 percent).
Before clicking on links or opening email attachments, online gaming operators are also advised to ensure that employees take due care. Last year, some Asian-facing pages learned the lesson the hard way. This spring, US-facing sportsbook BetUS had purloined data published online, and SBTech sportsbook provider customers were forced offline at the same time after the company was struck by an unspecified attack.
Land-based casinos are now under fire from hostile agents more and more. Several years ago, Iranian hackers attacked Las Vegas Sands’ Pennsylvania casino, while more fiscal-minded hackers attacked several casinos in Canada. Just this month, after an unspecified ‘network security incident’ over the Labor Day weekend, the Sugar Creek casino in Oklahoma was forced to shut down. The net is dark and full of terrors, to paraphrase a certain red lady.