The four websites were targets of distributed denial–of-service (DDoS) attacks, with each site experiencing downtime of approximately 30 minutes.
According to New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck, the attack was followed by the threat of a more powerful and sustained attack unless a bitcoin ransom was paid.
The ransom that the hacker demanded is unknown, but Rebuck fears that all businesses in Atlantic City who share the same Internet service provider could be affected.
David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the online gaming industry has not been a major target for hackers in the US, with officials saying it is more popular offshore. “Often there is a ransom demand attached”, he said.
Just last December, Sands Casino in Las Vegas suffered a massive cyber attack in which PCs and servers were shut down, with many of their hard drives wiped clean. This affected loyalty rewards plans for customers, programs that monitor the performance and pay-out of slot machines and table games at Sands’ US casinos, and a multimillion-dollar storage system.
Whatever industry you’re in, suffering a cyber attack would be devastating. The average cost of a data breach in the US is now at $6.5 million, according to recent Ponemon research, and businesses are advised to strengthen their cybersecurity measures as soon as possible.