Spoofing has become the number-one cyber threat to the online gambling industry, according to a report by ThreatMetrix.

Spoofing

Spoofing is on the rise, with an increasing number of fraudsters making use of sophisticated tools that disguise their locations so they can open accounts in fake names or hijack those of legitimate customers. (Image: Getty)

The internet risk solutions company described spoofing as the “fastest growing attack vector in the space” with a 257 percent increase year over year and as many as one in every 20 new online gambling accounts identified as fraudulent.

Spoofing is a practice whereby a person or program masquerades as someone or something else by falsifying data to gain an illegitimate advantage, such as misleading internet users into disclosing personal information.

In the online gambling space, a criminal may use stolen data to take over customer accounts in order to drain them of funds, for example, or to link multiple accounts to cheat online poker players — or simply to open accounts under bogus names in order to take advantage of free bonuses.

91 Million Transactions Analyzed

Between April and June 2018, ThreatMetrix analyzed 91 million gambling transactions on its ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network, which is the largest such repository of global shared intelligence in the world, according to the company.

Rising cybercrime levels are no small issue for a sector that enjoys a truly global customer base,” said Ellie Burns, Fraud and Identity Manager at ThreatMetrix, a LexisNexis Risk Solutions Company.

“With more than two billion gamers worldwide, nearly 60 percent of the industry’s traffic is cross-border,” she added. “Operators must contend with a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape and stringent new anti-money laundering laws, making the verification of the true location of a transacting gamer a vital component in authenticating identity.”

Location Spoofing on the Rise

While the identity authentication techniques and geolocation software online gambling operators use have become sophisticated, so have the methods used to circumvent them. ThreatMetrix notes that the recent availability of more sophisticated location spoofing tools has led to a surge in fraudsters attempting to disguise their true locations.

Many players use tools such as VPNs if they are based in a jurisdiction where online gambling is illegal, but they can also be used as a smokescreen to enable money-laundering.

“To deal with these challenges, gaming and gambling operators must incorporate dynamic digital identity intelligence that pieces together key indicators such as device intelligence, true geolocation, online identity credentials and threat analysis, to better inform risk decisions,” said Burns. “The key is to be able to effectively differentiate trusted users from fraudsters and understand changes in trusted user behavior, without adding unnecessary friction.”