The International Security Conference took place this week at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas and some of the top security providers, consultants and experts in the world attended to convention to display their products, demo their services and present their expert advice on security related topics.
Also presenting at the conference was Philip Celestini, the section chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) cybersecurity unit. Celestini made a special presentation on cybersecurity and stressed on the fact that cyberthreats have not only increased but have become a lot more sophisticated in recent times. Companies and agencies who want to protect their digital data have to constantly upgrade their cybersecurity and keep up with the latest technology in order to protect themselves from being hacked.
The online casino industry has always been a target for cybercriminals as they realize there is a lot of money being processed by these online casinos. Online gambling operators who are licensed use the best SSL encryption technologies and firewalls in order to protect the privacy of their customers and keep their online casinos from being hacked. However online hackers have proven time and again that they can create new malware and bots that allow them to manipulate the security of these online casinos and hack into their networks.
Celestini believes that cyberthreats have become more sophisticated because the hackers are putting in a lot of time and effort to study the network and technology that they want to hack. They reportedly spend weeks and sometimes even months reading e-mails, network patterns and carry out an in-depth reconnaissance on their target before deciding how to infiltrate the network or online website.
The FBI cybersecurity specialist stated that although terrorism was a concern in just about every country, terrorists were using cyberspace mostly for recruiting and spreading their message of hate. Celestini stated that most terrorists were currently not sophisticated enough to launch a cyberattack that would be of concern to the FBI and as a result they are rated as low risk as of now. However he warned that things could change quickly in the coming years.
Celestini stated that Russia, North Korea, Iran and China were currently the biggest cyberthreats to the United States. There have been reports in the past that North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un has a special cyberhacking team that is funded by the government and is responsible for running hundreds of illegal pornographic and online gambling websites. These websites are not accessible in North Korea but target a number of other countries and generate around $860 million in revenue for North Korea. There are reports that North Korea has as many as 6,800 hackers working for the government and a group known as ‘Lazarus’ is responsible for hacking worldwide financial networks and carrying out money laundering activities.
Russia has also been at the center of a political scandal as there have been numerous allegations that hackers from Russia collaborated with the intelligence community in America prior to the 2016 US elections and hacked John Podesta’s email account to gain vital information that helped tarnish Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. Podesta was the chairman of Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. As of now, none of those allegations have been proven but the authorities are concerned that Russian hackers are keeping a close watch on the United States.
The threat to the American online casino industry may not be a huge cause for concern right now simply because only three states – Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online gambling. However the threat to the online casino industry could increase in the coming years as there are around 10 states that are pushing for the legalization of online gambling.
Celestini went on to say that there will be more scope for hackers in the coming years because the number of devices connected to the internet will rise significantly. It is estimated that by the end of 2020, there will be more than 50 billion devices connected online and give hackers even more opportunity.
Casinos have also recognized the shift from desktop gaming to mobile gaming and have made the adjustment by releasing mobile gaming apps that provide both free to play and real money games. So far there have not been any major reports of mobile gaming hacking but based on Celestini’s warning, online gambling operators will do well to take heed and ensure all of their online gaming services are protected with the latest cybertechnology.