Good Habits for Gambling Online
Alex J. Coyne © 2018 Great Bridge Links
Security is a growing concern for gamblers who choose to take their game online. Online casinos are a regular target for hacking, malware and cyber-attacks, not to mention there are some websites that claim to be online casinos that are scams.
Hacks and exploits are becoming more creative than ever. In 2017, news reports emerged of a Canadian casino who found themselves hacked via the internet-connected thermostat in their fish tank. Approximately 10GB of data, including user information, was transferred to a server reportedly housed in Norway.
Hackers have also been responsible for large-scale data breaches. Just one example is the Cowboys Casino leak, where sensitive information was broadcast a year after the initial cyber attack.
If you gamble online, you want to ensure that your experience is as secure as possible. You can check out this link for trusted online casinos in Canada, and read on to find out about what steps online casinos take to secure their users – and what you can do to be extra sure of your online security.
Potential Risks for Online Gamblers
Online gambling is no more risky than real-life casino gambling, only if you’re gambling through a reputable online gambling website and taking the necessary steps to secure yourself.
Unregistered and unlicensed casino websites pose a huge problem for the gambling industry. Some sites are a front for identity and information theft, while others will simply disappear with your funds or refuse you the payout if you should win anything.
The only way to avoid this is to gamble only through known, recommended and registered online gambling providers.
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, and DDoS attacks are the hacking world’s way of a site takedown. Many websites have been hit by this before, including GitHub and CloudFlare, but it’s becoming a growing concern for the world of online gambling. Basically, a website’s information transfer is overloaded – which means complete downtime for the site.
While this alone isn’t risky for the user, a DDoS attack could mean a vital security flaw in the system that can put the user at risk.
Theft of Funds
Outright theft of funds is also a growing concern for online casinos. Hackers can make off with millions at a time. Again, most online casinos are protected from this – and the larger ones should at the very least be insured against the loss so that it doesn’t come as a massive loss to their players, but there are other ways theft of funds can happen to users.
The most common culprits are again unregistered, dodgy casino operators who simply refuse to pay out. If you want to guard against this, the best way is to check reviews for your chosen casino – if they’ve ever screwed anyone, you’ll see it in their reviews first and know to avoid the website.
You could also be scammed into transferring your funds to a long lost lover you met through a poker site, a little deception called “catfishing” – but that is perhaps a story for a whole other article.
An unregistered casino can put you at risk of identity theft, just as it can happen in other ways. Be sure that you never give out personal information via channels like private chat, instant messaging or e-mail – even when a supposedly legitimate e-mail or message asks for it; always confirm whether the message comes from the source it claims.
Identity and information theft can also take place via malware, third-party software unwittingly installed on your system when a would-be hacker links up. Most reputable online casinos scan their websites for malware on a regular basis, but you should have updated antivirus software installed on your computer too as an added layer of protection.
Analyzing Virtual Security Risks
A study called Playing it Safe: Avoiding Online Gaming Risks published by Eric J. Hayes takes a closer look at some of the risks online gamers, including gamblers, could be faced with. This is an excellent risk assessment for the industry, showing the importance of protecting your system and choosing the right websites.
In the study, Hayes mentions viruses, malicious software and server concerns as potential risks for online gamers; it mentions social engineering and the offline aspect of hacking where people are scammed into volunteering their information (usually through methods such as fake phone calls).
The report also mentions other, broader cyber risks that you might not have thought of in the context of online gambling, including the rise of cyber prostitution and what’s called virtual mugging, or the takeover of an account with all the privileges and credits.
Want to start gambling online? Here’s our review of some good habits to build to ensure you are protected :
- Ensure the online casino is adequately registered, and take a proper look at some online reviews from users to see if other people were happy – or not. Stick to safe sites.
- Check the encryption level of the casino that you’re using. Seeing “https” in front and SSL encryption when you click on the security certificate are both good news: these are the same levels of encryption employed by many banks.
- Update your computer, browser and any associated software, like your plugins and virus protection software before gambling online.
- Never enter personal information such as banking details over a public network where it could be accessed by a third-party.
- Scan your computer for viruses regularly – and by regularly we mean at least once or twice a week.