Russian mafia suspected of sabotaging gambling websites

Russian mafia suspected of launching cyber attacks

Carrying out a study of recent Distributed Denial of Service attacks on Australian betting sites this month (see previous InfoPowa reports), the Herald Sun newspaper revealed that at least four sites had been targeted.

The attacks were planned to take the sites down at key business peroids such as the AFL and NRL finals, and involved at least four sports betting operations which the Herald identified as Sportingbet Australia, Sportsbet, Sports Alive and Betchoice. The shutdowns were believed to have cost the Internet bookies millions in lost bets.

"Sportingbet Australia received a tenfold surge in traffic at 2am on August 21, shutting it for several hours," the newspaper reports, quoting CEO Michael Sullivan as having reported the attack to the federal police.

This weekend the hackers slowed Sportsbet to a crawl, with Betchoice and Racing Odds also experiencing difficulties.

Sportsbet chief Matt Tripp told the Herald Sun that the surge dwarfed Melbourne Cup day net traffic. "They are sending through several thousand transactions a second. It's unlike anything we have seen before," he said. "But we have a robust system. It held them at bay."

Unusually in the present cases, no demands for cash have been made - the usual modus operandi in attacks of this nature where 'armies' of virus-zombied PCs are instructed by the hackers to overwhelm the target with traffic.

The Russian mafia has been linked to similar cyber attacks.

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