I periodically wondered what would happen when the Mob went online:
That's a fine server you have there. Very pretty. I see you've got it all--SSL, PHP--gosh, what can you serve with server like that these days? Couple thousand pages a second? It would be a real shame to see a distributed denial-of-service attack hit that server. Fortunately, Guido here is an expert in preventing those denial-of-service attacks, and for a strictly nominal fee, he'll be glad to help provide it.
Now, via Volokh I am astounded to discover that it's actually happening.
Online gambling sites are fertile territory for extortionists. Many of the approximately 2,000 sites are vulnerable to hacking attacks and have little legal recourse because Internet gambling is illegal in the USA, security experts say.
Most [extortionists] issue ultimatums in e-mail messages in the days leading to major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl. Often, threats are issued after an attack, demanding that American currency be sent to a Western Union office.
It seems that the particular point of vulnerability is the fact that gamblers want to place their bets immediately before the event--so that it's possible to concentrate an attack on a very small time window. (That, combined with the fact that these gambling organizations are a little shady, providing an illegal service to Americans, means that it's hard for them to get legal or enforcement relief.)
I'm reminded of the historical threat of a "run on the banks," or the stock market panic, when everyone decides to access certain financial resources all at once.March 10, 2004 03:23 PM | TrackBack | in Temporality