Network Security, Network Security, Vulnerability Management

DDoS’d online poker site CEO contemplating posting reward to find attacker

The online poker site America's Cardroom was hit earlier this week with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack timed to disrupt a major tournament prompting the company CEO to consider putting a 10-bitcoin bounty out to discover if the attack was launched by a competitor.

America's Cardroom and its Winning Poker Network began tweeting early on August 31 that the site was being hit with a DDoS attack and within 60 minutes the attack caused the cancellation of a poker tournament. Two days later it was struck again with another tournament being forced to close. The site has since postponed another major tournament until it can put more resources in place to mitigate any future attacks.

America's Cardroom CEO Phil Nagy took the unusual step of talking about the attacks and their impact on his site in a YouTube video. Here he mentions that his site had undergone 24 separate DDoS attacks in the last week putting a huge dent in his operation.

Nagy said such attacks have been going on for years, usually taking place when a large tournament is scheduled, and in most cases a ransom is demanded, which he refuses to pay. In some of the attacks some claiming to be the perpetrator would enter one of the poker chat rooms and announce that an attack was about to take place. However, just prior to one of the latest attacks the unknown person said he was being paid by a competitor to take down America's Cardroom

Nagy responded to this news with a combination of disbelief and an idea to get to the bottom of the problem.

“I'm seriously considering offering a reward, 10 bitcoin or something really big to anyone who can bring me proof who has been ordering these attacks,” he said, adding the proof would have to be on a prior attack.

Maya Horowitz, Checkpoint's threat intelligence group manager, told SC Media that DDoS attacks launched by competitors are becoming more common as are those that ask for a ransom.

America's Cardroom is an online poker site that allows U.S. citizens to play using bitcoin and other payment methods to help avoid federal regulations that ban online poker in most of the country. 

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