Online casinos take personal information in accordance with their terms of service (ToS). But today, we face a rampant rise in cybersecurity attacks. The last thing you’d want is to have your information float around the internet for public consumption. And this is where knowing how online casinos take your information and keep it against these threats start to matter.
There’s no reason for an online casino to not have proper security measures. What will differ among them is the extent they take and how they work for the players. It’s also important to know which rightful authorities work against these attacks. But as technology keeps progressing, we’re witnessing improvements in the security measures and attacks. So, this article will tackle all of those in a comprehensive manner.
Introduction to online casino security and privacy
Over the years, the online casino industry gained traction. The industry started small and is now one of the biggest businesses out there. Thanks to technology, more people are able to join in without hassle compared to going to physical casinos. But with bigger reach comes great responsibility.
And this is where the obligation of online casinos to provide a safe and secure environment comes into picture. While many can be online casinos, they need to prove their credibility. There’s a lot of danger that comes with your information in these online casinos floating online. So, let’s cut the chase and understand why security in this industry matters.
Why Is Online Gambling and Casino Security So Crucial
The online casino industry is expecting another boom as it reaches a net worth of $94 billion USD in 2024. As the industry continues to expand, it also matches its functions with technological advancements. But the same applies to hackers and the cybersecurity threat they bring. Before, hackers would only have a few tools to bypass the system and hack a platform. But today, they can implement so many more techniques to manipulate an online casino’s system and hack its players.
All that we do on the web are connected – like our social media profiles and bank accounts in one phone, under one profile. This gives us a lot of flexibility, and hackers only need to get through in one app to get to the rest. The same goes for online casinos, where people verify their accounts and sync their banking profiles to the site.
This is also the reason why online casinos need to provide their license and be transparent with their security measures. This is why when you register for an account on a site, you’ll see which license they hold. So, players can turn down the offer to play on a site without these things that turned into an obligation for online casinos.
Recent Cyber Attacks in Online Gambling Sites
Most cybersecurity threats that online casinos face have to do with hacking. While the term doesn’t surprise anyone anymore, the “way” that hackers do so matters more. They can do it in various ways, including but not limited to:
- DDoS attack
- Account takeover
- Player database manipulation
With that, here are some of the most recent cyber attacks in online gambling sites:
- In Southeast Asia, a group of professional Chinese hackers confirmed to be the source of rampant hacking in gambling sites in the region. They’ve been doing it for years and only confirmed to the authorities in 2019.
- In 2020, betting companies got a database consisting of 28 million children living in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
- In 2020 as well, a ransomware attack took place in SBTech, a large supplier of iGaming and sports betting platform solutions. The attack lasted for more than three days, and players were not able to access the site. Because of this, the company decided to stop its global data operations.
Common threats to online casino security and privacy
Hackers love an industry that keeps growing. Who wouldn’t when you can profit millions to billions in less than a year from that industry? More so, once you know how to penetrate businesses under that industry, everything else becomes easy. Online casinos are not only a great target, but they are also prone to the newest hacking techniques.
For hackers, any online casino is worth hacking. They don’t have to insist on bypassing the most famous online casinos, though that remains an option. The reason isn’t because smaller online casinos are easier to hack. In fact, size doesn’t matter in online casinos’ security, it’s the measures they take that matter more.
But going back, the reason is online casinos are connected to a few operators – since the latter acquire the former. That is to say that one operator may be holding one famous online casino and growing a smaller one it acquired weeks ago. And hackers still get the benefit of being familiar with how an operator manages their site. That’s all they need to cost operators all their access to the site.
Who are these hackers?
It’s important to know who or what we’re referring to when we talk about hackers. The simple answer is – they can be anyone or anything. Since online casinos run through the internet, anyone from anywhere can attack them.
But most of the time hackers come in groups. They negotiate with a client or commit cyberattacks on their own. On the other hand, individual hackers don’t get much traction. They either did the hacking by accident, or tried getting something else like modifying their data. So, it’s the professional hackers that perform the more intended online casino hackings.
Why do they hack online casinos?
Online casinos serve as amazon targets for hackers because there’s a lot of money involved. Transactions happen all the time and as you guessed it, hackers can funnel that money to them. But there are more reasons aside from money why they would do it.
Hackers can cater to clients and serve their needs. If that client is a competitor, they can sell sensitive player data. Now, if they’re targeting a person or group, they can also sell their personal information to the groups that ask for it.
Of course, all these would boil to getting more money for the hackers. And if only online casinos look after having great security before anything else, these won’t happen.
The most common threats to online casino security
Here’s a list of the common threats to online casinos’ security today:
Social engineering sounds like a fancy term, but it’s only a form of user manipulation. It’s when hackers perform as superiors on the site and gather players’ sensitive information. This can include spreading survey forms where players reveal their passwords. There are many types of social engineering, but the common ones done on online casinos are phishing and spoofing.
If you’ve ever heard of ‘mods’ in a game, expediting is the larger umbrella term for it. It’s a threat that runs through automated bots that allow users to take advantage of a game. When you see a player winning because of an unusual behavior, that might be because they’re expediting the game.
Ports are the “openings” of a site to communicate to players. For example, a site can give you a default password to be able to log into the site. Of course, many players either forget or don’t bother changing the default password. If a hacker gets access to these ports, they can hack those who didn’t change their default password within minutes.
DDos refers to Distributed Denial of Service, which are attacks aimed at the website’s functionality. This attack is one of the most common hacking services that competitors buy from hackers. When players can’t access the site for games, they become fearful and lose interest in the online casino. So, they would most likely move to another site.
Scraping or data scraping is an attack where hackers steal data from online casinos. This allows them to get verification information and APIs on top of personal information.
Account takeovers take root from either data scraping or social engineering. It’s an attack where hackers get access to player profiles, to commit identity fraud and deposit money from their banks.
Much like data scraping, Structured Query Language (SQL) injections are attacks where hackers add, modify, or delete things from the database server of an online casino. This allows them to put different KYC needs, or have access to current player details.
It’s no wonder why online casinos get the grunt work of hacking. A site can have all your information and if hackers get access to them, players are put in danger. It’s like a one-way ticket to fraud, theft, and so many more dangers.
How online casinos protect your security and privacy
Over 40,000 cybercrimes hit the internet every day. So, security is not any more a choice but an obligation among sites to offer. The same applies well to online casinos. They’re not only a huge target, but they contain user information vital for many cybercrimes. While there are many legitimate casinos, most of them have weak security measures. It doesn’t become any better if a legitimate casino becomes a storage place accessible to anyone.
But as technology continues to advance, online casinos started wearing more hats for security. Before, users only had to verify their identity. They don’t have a clue about where their information goes after the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policy. But today, transparency is a gem everyone looks for among online casinos. Sure, it’s great, but only knowing where your online casino places your personal details is not enough.
This idea that online casinos are not keeping up with security measures while cybercrimes get more complex became prevalent. And this urged many online casinos to use the same technology to improve their security measures. So, let’s go through each one of them in this part where we define how online casinos protect you and your privacy.
Data and security encryption
The best way to block any hacker from accessing your details is tying them up to your confirmation. Hackers’ number one problem is getting in your accounts, or the database of the online casino. The good thing is you and your online casino can counter this move by using encryption.
For example, Cloudflare is a service brand that protects a website from DDos. It throws away any person or bot that crowds the login interface of the site when it can’t log in. There’s also CAPTCHA solutions that work against spams. If online casinos can add a CAPTCHA feature, then they protect their databases from SQL injections since bots can’t prove their humanity.
But one amazing development in security is the encryption method. In fact, almost all online casinos have a bit-encryption on their site. What does this do? In simple terms, it makes all users anonymous while on the site. If you give your personal data to a site, like your ID or bank card, the casino turns them into unique and unbreakable codes.
Most online casinos have 128 to 256-bit encryption. They’re the same level banks use to protect their customers. But how will you know they have it? When you look at the site, it should have a seal or certificate that says ‘SSL’. If you find it, it means all your information and activities remain encrypted.
Random Number Generators (RNGs)
A Random Number Generator (RNG) is an algorithm that online casinos put in their games. It seeks to automate the game while preserving the win rate of players. In this way, online casinos prevent fraud and players gain confidence in them for preserving the win rate.
But another reason why online casinos put it is to avoid seeking third-party applications to run their games. It makes the site vulnerable to outside attacks, since hackers would only need to pretend like a gaming solutions platform.
There’s no way for anyone to guess the numbers that come out of an RNG. Unless they hack the algorithm (which is also very hard to do), they won’t be able to touch the online casinos’ games.
Penetration system comes with a bug bounty. If the online casino has a large community, they can reward users for finding bugs, errors, and loopholes on the site. This allows for a more efficient way to hunt for possible loopholes while also giving incentives to players to be active.
But the important step that developers take afterwards is the penetration testing process. It’s when the developers test the site by performing a cyberattack towards it. If the casino falls, they need to determine which aspects of it were weak and fix it. Otherwise, there;s nothing more to patch up and they can continue improving the site’s other aspects.
Knowing which cyberattacks make a difference in impacting an online casino is crucial to finding its pain points. And penetration testing is key to bridging that information gap.
Casino terms and privacy policies
Online casinos don’t only improve their software, but also their policies surrounding security and privacy. Privacy policies help you understand how the online casino will store and use your given information. If they mention storing it in a third-party application, then it must be a red flag. This is also a good basis to make online casinos accountable to authorities if things go downhill.
Most online casinos’ privacy policies stay at the bottom of their site. But what about policies surrounding games and your use of the website? That’s where casino terms come into the picture. Online casinos can tweak your odds or rollover requirements without a problem. So, it’s better if you know whether they’re fair and if not, hold them accountable.
Having these two as clear as possible is a good sign that the online casino is credible.
HTTPS, SSL, TSL, and Firewalls
Since online casinos run on the internet, these acronyms should be relevant to keep them safe. HTTPS is a security layer on the common “https” you see on the URL of an online casino. This allows the online casino to impose an encryption to anyone who enters the site. So, they can get rid of bots who cause unnecessary traffic before they swarm the site.
There’s also the Transport Layer Security of TLS which most banks use. You can see this when you connect any financial tool with your account on the site. If an online casino doesn’t have HTTPS, they can have this. But it doesn’t cover security on all aspects of the site.
Last but definitely not the least is the Secure Socket Layer (SSL). As mentioned earlier, this is a type of blocker where players remain anonymous while on the site.
Not only do you risk your personal information when you sign up at an online casino. You also put yourself at risk if you gamble in a country that prohibits it. These hackers can use your identity or worse, turn you into the authorities. So, it’s better to know these measures and assess whether your online casino offers any or all of them. The higher the number of things your online casino gives, the better.
On the other hand, never settle for less! If an online casino is willing to take your information, they should also be willing to take care of it.
Ensuring security while playing online can be challenging, but you can increase your safety by keeping these three tips in mind.
To start with, choose a reputable site that has SSL encryption to secure your personal and financial details.
Next, avoid using the same password or PIN at multiple casinos. Finally, using a VPN is an effective way to protect yourself while playing remotely.
By following these suggestions, you can enjoy your gaming experience with greater peace of mind.
If you wish to learn about how to protect yourself when gambling online, our article on online casino safety tips provides information.
How are regulatory bodies involved in ensuring the security and privacy of online casinos?
You’ve read through online casinos’ and the players’ ways to ensure the industry keeps information safe. There’s another agent in this discussion: the regulators. As mentioned in the last topic, online casinos get a license to operate if they match the regulators’ standards. These regulators don’t apply to one country only. Depending on their target and reach, a license has great influence on the players’ perception about the online casino.
If you’ve gone through a Know Your Customer (KYC) policy, or a ToS that mentions anti-money laundering laws, thank the regulators. They apply today’s laws to the industry in hopes to reconcile the two.
Who are these ‘regulators’?
Casino regulators are state and global bodies that ensure none of the operating casinos violate laws. These regulators have an influence depending on their establishment, region, and licensing power. For instance, the Curacao eGaming Authority is one of the largest online casino licensing authorities out there. It doesn’t only cover online casinos in Curacao. And if an online casino holds it, it means it underwent Curacao’s standards checking.
There are many of them, and you can do a quick Google search on which regulators have influence in your country. Sometimes, you have one for your country and another that runs as an independent organization. It’s good to have either, but it’s always better to have the two. If you have an online casino, having many licenses helps you reach other markets or countries. Users don’t have to use a VPN service anymore, for instance.
The regulatory overview
The regulatory overview has six parts: rules, regulations, standards, requirements, transparency, and policies. A regulator proposes these and the online casinos follow through. The regulating body can change or tweak any of the steps to their specific liking. And, they can change it whenever they deem fit.
Regulators can check whether the online casino follows the current rules they implemented. Even small instances of violating a rule count towards the screening process of the online casino.
From the word itself, regulators tell the limit of an online casino when operating. Most of the time, the limits are to take into account the plights of players. They relate to Return-to-Player (RTP), wagering requirements, etc.
Each regulator sets up a standard depending on their reach’s casino familiarity and popularity. For example, bigger regulators prioritize checking older and bigger online casinos. On the other hand, more local regulators want to capture as many local-based online casinos as possible.
For those applying for a license, the regulator gives them a list of requirements for screening. This can be a business permit, or a certificate of collaboration with reliable providers and payment methods. The regulators can then see whether an online casino is fit for the license or not yet.
The regulators check how transparent an online casino is to its players about changes in the system, etc. A simple dashboard of who’s winning the online lottery, or the odds of a sports betting market determines whether an online casino is worth trusting.
Policies refer to the set of rules that the regulator puts in place. Most of the time, this runs between what most regulators think and what online casinos want. But the former is easier to aggregate because all regulators have a connection with one another. They serve as a clearer and more concrete list of the things they expect to implement. And this also includes the corresponding punishments that will happen to the online casino should they straw away.
Independent organizations that audit online casinos
In a broad sense, regulators conduct examinations on all the aspects of an online casino. But of course, some operators have great influence over a country. In fact, some operators may be friends with licensing authorities. So, this is where independent organizations come in.
These independent organizations help online casinos build credibility by getting their services. Since not all licenses issued have a strong appeal everywhere, an audit can show more. eCOGRA and Technical Systems Testing (TST) are examples. But if the online casino can have both a license and an audit from, say, eCOGRA, then better.
The future of online casino security and privacy.
Online casinos are equipping technological trends. The market is also expanding as cryptocurrencies and virtual realities start to enter. There’s a lot to look after, but what’s in store for privacy matters the most. From manual authentications, to biometrics, and to using the digital space more often, here we go!
As an industry borne in technology, here are the ways that advancements in online casinos benefit their security and privacy measures.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has a lot of positive impacts in the online casino industry. From targeting potential players, getting them on board, and protecting them, AI makes the job easier. In business terms, it gives a lot of space for businesses to focus on improving their game. On the other hand, the AI catches all the other tasks there are like marketing, customer support, and of course, security.
But let’s delve deeper into the things AI can do for online casinos’ security measures. First, its customer support would have a better system. That can help track and aggregate the players’ frequent pain points and work out a solution from there. Second, AI can help identify patterns far quicker than any other security system in place. And as it determines the attackers, it can also use itself as a blocker.
Many casinos are already integrating augmented and virtual realities (AR and VR) in their platforms. But what are they? In the simplest terms, they are tools to help better the gaming experience of players. It gives them a whole new reality, which engages players more in their games. For example, if you play poker online, you can set a VR where you’re seated with a poker table against your opponents.
The fact that AR and VR levels up the gaming experience of players must mean it can go on par or even better than land-based casinos. Since its goal is to put all players under one world and imagination, it became possible.
But let’s talk about its impacts in online casinos’ security and privacy. For one, you can better keep yourself safe yet enjoy the benefit of playing like you’re in the real place. Second, it reduces the amount of phishing on the site because VR is more about your point of view now. And third, players can easily record and see those who cheat the system.
Adding to AR and VR, the metaverse is a safe haven for those who use cryptocurrencies when in an online casino. It introduces a virtual reality system where people can do almost anything, especially play casino games. Most metaverse platforms also do well catering to different cryptocurrencies. So, if you’re more into crypto casinos than only online casinos, this one’s for you.
If you were to add this in the security measures, this could help alleviate giving too much information. The databases are kept safe and anonymous on the metaverse. Players only need to set an account, their crypto wallet, and they’re all good to go!
The voice technology mentioned here applies for voice biometrics and recognition. This reduces fraud and breaches on online casinos. Since you have to speak to access your account, a hacker will have a long time working on bypassing it.
You can also use voice to control your whole game. The sensitivity of online casinos get better and can cater to this, whatever voice you have.
BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are making their way to the online casino industry. They are cheaper and faster in transactions, and decentralized by nature. The only drawback is volatility, but if you’re a knowledgeable and great trader, you’d still win.
But talking more about security, blockchain technology employs data in unique and irreplaceable codes. That means there’s no way for fraud to happen. It also secures and verifies every transfer through mining before putting it on the said ledger.
The future of online casino privacy and security seems bright. Technologies like AI and blockchain help in maintaining databases. On the other hand, voice integrations, VRs, and the metaverse give more space to enjoy online casino gaming. But that doesn’t end there because they also give way to reduce other threats, leaving the players untraceable.