The National Lottery of Ireland is the latest operator of gambling activities to be knocked offline after a DDoS attack. DDoS stands for distributed denial of service attack and is a way that hackers shut down gambling sites, wreaking havoc on player accounts.
The National Lottery offered a prize of €12m last week, which was the largest of the Irish Lottery in an 18 month time frame. Hackers took to the site of the lottery on Wednesday and knocked the site offline for a two hour time frame on the day of the drawing. When a DDoS attack happens at an online casino or poker site, players can lose money or be cut from game play. With the lottery, players were unable to access the site.
The attack not only affected the Irish Lottery website but also the retail shops that have lottery terminals installed. The attack began on Wednesday at 11:20am and shut down the site as well as the retail terminals. The systems at the retailers were back in action within an hour and a half while the site took an additional hour and a half to return to service. The drawing did take place as it should.
The National Lottery is operated by Premier Lotteries Ireland, who issued a statement on the attack, stating the anti-DDoS systems were able to stop the attack after a two hour time frame. The company stressed that at no point was the gaming system of the National Lottery or player data affected.
It was never stated by PLI if they received a demand for ransom, which is common when a DDoS attack occurs. The Lottery attack does fit the regular pattern of DDoS attacks based on the size of the jackpot but the lack of ransom or demands is odd.
The company has stated that the attack is still under investigation and the Wednesday drawing did not result in a win. This means the jackpot will be even higher and the National Lottery will be on high alert for the next drawing, just in case the attackers try again.