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Online casino report

Q1 2024 Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria 

Understand the success behind top casinos in Africa

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    Tagscasino developmentcasino securityplatform scalability

    How can you get hacked?

    How can you get hacked?

    When analyzing online casinos, we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes made by casino operators that hackers ruthlessly exploit to take control of platforms and steal data.

    The most common types of hacker attacks on online casinos:

    • stealing players’ personal data,
    • taking over the casino, making unauthorized changes, and stealing data,
    • manipulating games by altering algorithms,
    • phishing – impersonating the casino.

    To protect an online casino from attacks, it is crucial to ensure its security on multiple levels and in various aspects. In the context of iGaming platforms, security is often discussed in terms of the technical infrastructure of the platform, but operational errors within the application itself, which can indirectly increase its vulnerability to attacks, are mentioned less frequently. Our list of over 20 mistakes from both areas includes practical and effective solutions for casino operators to enhance the security of iGaming platforms

    Hacker attacks on online casino infrastructure

    Hacker attacks on iGaming platform infrastructure can take various forms and may result from operator mistakes or negligence. Below is a summary of these errors along with the associated risks.

    Error: Expired SSL Certificate

    Risk: The platform becomes inaccessible until the certificate is renewed. While most online casinos now use SSL certificates, the situation is less favorable when it comes to remembering to renew them.
    Solution: Infrastructure monitoring should actively verify the expiration date of the SSL certificate.

    Error: Lack of Automatic Network Monitoring (Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS))

    Risk: Potential for brute force attacks on services or player profiles. Such attacks can target various areas of the platform, including network authentication, player profiles, and financial data encryption.

    Solution: Monitor login attempts/access attempts to services and block IPs after, for example, three failed password attempts.

    Error: Unverified Backup Policy

    Risk: In the event of a breach, malware attack, etc., it may be necessary to restore the service from a backup. If the backup policy hasn’t been properly verified or doesn’t work correctly, a hacker attack could result in permanent data loss or temporary unavailability for players.

    Solution: Backup verification should always be an integral part of ongoing maintenance. Additionally, backup processes should be established and updated based on the volume of data and the size of the organization.

    Error: Access to Services and Internal Application Traffic and Access to Unnecessary Infrastructure Elements

    Risk: Leaving open ports and services that may reveal information about the structure and configuration of the infrastructure, potentially providing access to unauthorized data.

    Solution: Restrict access to only essential infrastructure elements that directly communicate with players, APIs, etc. Each element should have limited access to other necessary elements it must connect with and should not be accessible to any other parts of the infrastructure.

    Error: Improper or Nonexistent Granular Permissions

    Risk: Incorrect granulation of permissions can lead to excessive access, which, if compromised, could result in the exposure of more data and services.

    Solution: Permissions should be granted only for essential services and data, following a hierarchy, and regularly reviewed to identify and remove excessive permissions.

    Error: Lack of Access Verification for Infrastructure (including production, test environments, and documentation)

    Risk: Inaccurate information about the number of people, suppliers, and subcontractors with access to the infrastructure.

    Solution: Establish a clear policy for granting and revoking permissions, including role descriptions for users, proper on/offboarding procedures, and periodic/expiring access.

    Error: Lack of Regular Updates

    Risk: Unupdated software opens the door to various types of attacks.

    Solution: Regular updates of servers and applications, systematic maintenance testing, and reporting to stakeholders on completed tasks and identified threats.

    Error: Lack of Penetration Testing, Assuming Once-Tested Infrastructure is Immune to Attacks

    Risk: Lack of awareness of new vulnerabilities that may arise with technological changes.

    Solution: Conduct periodic penetration tests to discover vulnerabilities, assess risks, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

    Cyber-attacks and operational activities in online casinos

    The vulnerability of an online casino to cyber-attacks is influenced by a multitude of factors, many of which may seem unrelated to security. Even minor oversights can lead to significant revenue losses over time, often without the operator realizing it. Below, we’ve outlined a list of elements to consider and analyze within your own iGaming platform.

    Error: Lack of DDoS Protection

    Risk: One of the most common types of attacks on casinos, capable of completely shutting down or significantly slowing down the portal’s operations for days, not just hours.

    Solution: There is no single simple solution; this issue should be considered during the infrastructure design phase. Common tools to combat DDoS attacks include Web Application Firewalls, dedicated DDoS mitigation providers, caching, rate limiting, and constant network monitoring.

    Error: Storing Sensitive Data in Unencrypted Form

    Risk: There is always a risk of data leaks. The format in which data is stored significantly affects how much our reputation will suffer. Attackers can use unencrypted data to carry out various types of attacks, such as data theft, system attacks, or phishing attempts. Additionally, employees with access to unencrypted data may inadvertently or intentionally disclose information, posing a threat to the organization.

    Solution: Implement tokenization, encryption, and hashing. Avoid storing data unless necessary (e.g., use payment gateways). Ensure an effective access and role assignment policy.

    Error: Lack of Rate Limiting

    Risk: Hackers can exploit the lack of rate limits to overload the system by repeatedly sending requests, causing slowdowns or outages for other users. Bypassing rate limits can be part of more complex attacks, such as DDoS attacks, which use distributed bots to overwhelm server infrastructure and block it. Additionally, if attacks target API endpoints that make requests to paid APIs, it can lead to significant cost increases.

    Solution: Implement rate limits in the application, especially on sensitive endpoints. Limit the number of requests a single user can send in a short period. Use proxy servers to automatically detect and block DDoS attacks or captchas. Regular network traffic monitoring can help identify unusually high request volumes from a single source, suggesting an attack exploiting the lack of rate limits. Early detection of such anomalies allows for quick response and application security measures.

    Error: Not Testing Scalability and Lack of Notifications for Increased Traffic

    Risk: Infrastructure failure during peak interest periods. Loss of company credibility.

    Solution: Conduct scalability tests and implement notification systems for increased traffic.

    Error: Lack of organized integration documentation procedures

    Risk: Increased time and failure rate for integrating with external entities.

    Solution: Update critical integration documents, using live docs instead of static files.

    Error: Lack of disaster recovery procedures

    Risk: Reviving the service and fixing all the errors will be costly and will shut down the casino for a long time. Reputation will suffer. Players will lose trust and switch to competitors.

    Solution: Create and test DR procedures (regular backups; advanced data protection mechanisms; monitoring and improving processes).

    Error: Not testing all dependencies in the infrastructure. Testing only individual services without their dependencies and connections

    Risk: Malfunction of one service could disable others or increase failure rates.

    Solution: Interdependency testing between services.

    Error: Maintaining or improperly managing legacy code

    Risk: Difficult code development, lack of personnel capable of handling the code, potential error points, or security vulnerabilities.

    Solution: Code updates and quality improvement. Proper technical documentation management.

    Error: Integrations with external systems

    Risk: DNS changes in such systems might lead to communicating with the wrong system.

    Solution: Proper host verification through headers, salts, etc., and encrypted communication.

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