Feeds

Online casinos hit by bot armies

Don't bet against money laundering robots

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Botnets are fulfilling law enforcement fears that online casinos could prove fertile ground for money laundering, according to a recent, little-noticed report by risk compliance firm Fortent.

Some are engaging in variations of an old casino scam, in which preprogrammed-to-lose bots transfer dirty money - obtained through stolen credit cards, illicit drug sales or whatnot - to a chosen winner. Others flood a room and conspire to defraud a legitimate player by leveraging the mathematical advantage inherent in knowing more of the cards. Another scam involves spamming a known player in the hopes of stealing password and account information, and then bleeding the account dry through the fraudulent games described above.

Fulltiltpoker.com apparently got hit by a botnet attack recently and refunded money to the defrauded customers. A USA Today tally last month estimated that $2.5 mil to $3.5 mil per year are laundered this way.

"We are definitely seeing activity by bot-herders in online casino games, which is something we hadn't seen before," Symantec security analyst Zulfikar Ramzan noted.

We've generally been skeptical of allegations that the online casino industry would make a good platform for widespread money laundering, primarily due to the ready-made trail left by the transactions. However, the use of botnets is more problematic, due to the fact that until recently botmasters had not been targeted by the FBI, and the actual computers involved belong to innocent third parties.

Money laundering can theoretically be accomplished through many types of transactions - for example, by selling phony merchandise on eBay and transferring the money without delivering anything at all. It's therefore questionable just how much more susceptible cybercasinos are than other online businesses to money laundering. Risk compliance companies like Fortent or AccuitySolutions have products to push, after all. However, the fact that the US authorities have driven much of the online gambling and payment processing activity underground raises serious concerns about just how secure some of these sites are.

Not that gamblers are a risk-averse group, of course.®

Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.