New Jersey Online Gaming Sites hit by Cyber Attack

Earlier this week, four New Jersey online gaming sites were hit by a malicious cyber attack that caused some downtime. And what’s bad is that the hacker threatened further action if not paid a Bitcoin ransom.

New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck verified that the attack began prior to the Fourth of July Weekend, then lasted for a few days afterward.

“At least four casinos were impacted and experienced downtime,” Rebuck said. “We’re continuing to monitor.”

The four iGaming sites were victims of “distributed denial of service” (DDS) attacks, where the network is flooded with so much information that it isn’t able to operate properly. Rebuck said that following the DDS attacks, the hacker threatened more problems “to be initiated 24 hours later unless a Bitcoin ransom was paid.”

As NJ.com reports, Rebuck did not specific how much Bitcoin was demanded; however, he added that the follow-up attack was supposed to disrupt all of Atlantic City since the casinos share the same internet service provider.

Currently, the Division of Gaming Enforcement, NJ State Police, FBI, and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness are all investigating leads on the perpetrator.

Cyber attacks have not become totally uncommon against offshore gaming sites, which usually operate in gray markets and are easy targets for ransom-seeking cyber criminals. However, this is the first time that somebody has been bold enough to demand money from regulated U.S. iGaming sites.

It’s likely that the criminal in this situation asked for Bitcoin because this virtual cryptocurrency isn’t backed by a central government or bank – making it almost untraceable. For this reason, Bitcoin is a favorite among criminals and those operating in gray or black markets.

This cyber attack is the second major one to be carried out within the last eight months against casinos. Back in December 2014, Iranian hackers are believed to have disrupted the Sands Las Vegas. This attack caused millions of dollars worth of damage because Sands was not properly equipped to handle such an attack.

The primary motivation for the attacks are believed to be Sands owner Sheldon Adelson’s disparaging comments made about Iran. However, in the New Jersey iGaming instance, it seems that the attack was motivated purely by financial gain.