[ISN] Grand National extortion attacks 'unlikely'
isn at c4i.org
Mon Apr 11 05:24:47 EDT 2005
April 08, 2005
Police are confident that gambling Web sites will be safe from
cybercriminals threatening to disrupt betting on the Grand National
The massive bandwidth extortion attacks that crippled online gambling
sites last year are unlikely to be repeated ahead of this year's Grand
National horse race, which takes place on Saturday, industry experts
predicted on Friday.
According to police sources, complaints of attacks have eased off
since the arrest of a gang believed to be behind a protection racket
which forced Web-gambling firms to pay up or face long periods of
downtime on their systems.
"An attack is unlikely," said a spokeswoman for the National Hi-Tech
Crime Unit. "We arrested the people behind it in Russia last year."
Bandwidth attacks using networks of compromised computers, also known
as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, are used by hackers
to cripple a Web site by sending its servers more data than they can
process, ultimately forcing it offline. This type of attack was used
last year against several betting Web sites to disrupt their
"The number of [DDoS attacks] we get phone calls about is very low
now," said Paul Lawrence, general manager at Top Layer, a vendor
involved in protecting Web sites from DDoS attacks. "I can't say
there's been an increase."
Last year, Russian police claimed that the gang behind the attacks has
caused about £40m in damage. Yevgeny Yakimovich, the chief of the
Russian Interior Ministry's Department K, which tackles cybercrime,
said DDoS attacks were launched at nine UK bookmakers. Those
responsible then demanded up to £28,000 before they would stop the
attacks, which typically coincided with major sporting events.
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