Hackers carry out continuous attacks on the online poker rooms and players are the main victims.0 Comments
This summer, hackers have not given online poker rooms a break.
PokerStars, PartyPoker, Americas Card Room, 888poker and Winamax have been the target of repeated DDoS attacks.
What do these cyber attacks consist of? The DDoS or distributed denial of service attack is a joint and coordinated attack between several computers (which can be hundreds or thousands) to a specific server (in this case, the server of an online poker room). The distributed attack comes from computers in different countries of the world, which makes it practically impossible to close the routes of aggressions, leaving as the only option to disconnect the server from the network and wait for the attack to cease.
Hackers’ cyber attacks against poker rooms are not a recent thing. Already in 2008 there were DDoS attacks against some rooms, such as FullTiltPoker, PartyPoker or Titan Poker. Then, over the years, they have continued to exist, but this summer they have multiplied. Hackers are being especially active. Leaving Americas Card Room on the sidelines, cyber-attacks have also affected us in our .es market.
PokerStars suffered three attacks during 3 consecutive days in the second fortnight of August, causing a great malaise in the community, since, apart from suspending the activity, the company launched the returns system taking as a reference the time of the server shutdown and not the start of disconnections. Later, due to the complaints of the players, PokerStars changed its position and proceeded to reimburse the money taking as reference point the moment of the disconnections. And to reconcile with the victims he organized a series of freerolls (something that didn’t convince them either).
Winamax has also suffered two waves of DDoS attacks this summer. The first was more or less coincident in time with PokerStars. The French room solved their problems in just one day. The service interruption was solved (i.e. the attacks ceased) and the room proceeded to returns according to the policy established for this type of situation in its general conditions. The players were satisfied with the speed of the room to solve the problem, as well as with the reimbursements made.
Winamax continued to function normally, until it received a new attack, this time more invasive. It lasted several days, throughout the penultimate weekend of September. The room had to interrupt the action and set the returns protocol in motion, specifying that the security of users’ personal data or funds was never compromised.
In general, Winamax works better than PokerStars in this type of case, which the community usually appreciates.
888poker also suffered DDoS cyber attacks at the beginning of September and its customer service received so many communications that it delayed (even further) its already long response times.
But why do hackers attack? Although we can imagine several reasons, we cann’t know for sure, since this information has never transcended.
Maybe they are trying to steal players’ personal data or funds (which is very, very complicated, given the security measures in the rooms). Maybe they are trying to blackmail online gaming companies. Or maybe they just want to harm them for ethical or political reasons.
There are also people who are speculating on the fact that it may be the venues themselves that are attacking their competitors. But obviously this conspiracy theory has not been proven.
Be that as it may, cyberattacks are becoming too common in recent times and the rooms don’t seem to have enough resources or knowledge to abort them without the players suffering the consequences.
At the moment, they can only apologise, refund and try to ingratiate themselves with the players as generously as possible.