European Gambling and Betting Association Creates Task Force to Target Cyberattacks on Gaming Operators

Cybercrime continues to be a growing threat across all industries and tackling the issue is a major concern. The European Gambling and Betting Association hopes it can help gaming operators through a new specialized group that will fight those threats.

European flags
European flags
Various flags of countries of the European Union and the UK. Gaming operators across the EU are coming together to fight cybercrime. (Image: Getty Images)

Thwarting hackers attempts to break into online networks is a constant challenge. There are plenty of tools to assist, but there are also a number of ways to bypass those tools.

Cybercrime is on the rise and costs companies trillions of dollars each year. When known methods of attack are stopped, new ones appear like a Hydra. The European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) is stepping up its efforts to fight back.

EGBA Adds Cybercrime Experts

In 2019, EGBA members stopped over 550 major cyberattacks against their websites. Now, it has created a new group of experts to do even more. The group, made up of cybersecurity experts from EGBA members, will support and coordinate its members’ efforts to counter the latest cybersecurity threats against gambling websites.

The initiative, which establishes the scope and type of data to be shared in the group through a Memorandum of Understanding, should prove to be a valuable tool in the fight against cybercrime. It will allow EGBA members to share information with each other on the latest threats and cyberattacks, cooperate to track and resolve incidents, identify and resolve security vulnerabilities and apply the latest and best practices in cybersecurity.

We have launched this expert group to encourage and establish a much-needed platform for cross-industry cooperation on cybersecurity issues,” said EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer.

Online gambling sites are an increasingly popular target for organized and professional cybercriminals. They deploy a number of sophisticated methods to attempt to access players’ accounts and steal the funds and customer data stored on them. Imperva, a cybersecurity firm, found that automated cyber threats accounted for 28% of all global gambling website traffic in 2020.

Cyber threats are especially problematic during major sporting events. They increased by 96% year-on-year during the 2021 European soccer championships, with UK and German gambling websites becoming the preferred targets.

There are a number of ways gaming operators can become targets, some of which are easier to mitigate. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are almost a daily occurrence, but controlling them is relatively easy. Attacks that target account acquisition and credit card fraud are more difficult.

A New Era in Operator Protection

The new EGBA group will facilitate cooperation among members to support early detection of and responses to cyber threats. It will also strengthen individual and common security practices and prevent fraudulent activities against operators’ customer bases. In addition, it will help establish protection against fund theft and data breaches.

Participation in the group is open to non-EGBA gambling operators. However, they must comply with a number of principles to ensure they maintain strict standards of cybersecurity and data protection.

Haijer pointed out that cyber threats tend to be cross-border in nature, affect operators in the same way, and are a common threat to the industry. As a result, it’s imperative that all responsible gaming operators collaborate to enhance cybersecurity policies and procedures.

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