The National Lottery confirmed that the outage was caused by a major distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, it hasn’t provided further details about the incident.
It is still unclear who is behind the attack and if the attackers attempted to blackmail the National Lottery.
Experts speculate that the DDoS attack was launched by the hacker group “Phantom Squad” that sent threatening emails earlier this month, warning of DDoS attacks on Saturday 30 2017 unless a ransom was paid.
Phantom Squad launched several cyber attacks against many firms in the gaming industry. In 2015 the hackers targeted the Electronic Arts and Steam, in 2016 the group and PoodleCorp hit Steam and Origin Servers.
The gaming industry is particularly exposed to DDoS attacks that could cause serious damage, and crooks are aware of such kind of exposure.
“DDoS attackers are only too aware that the online gaming and gambling industry are particularly reliant on their websites remaining accessible, and have no qualms about harnessing botnets to launch denial-of-service attacks to bring services to their knees.” reads a blog post published by ESET.
The incident demonstrates that the UK National Lottery, even if is considered a privileged target of hackers, hasn’t adequate countermeasures to mitigate the threat.
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.