Customers left unable to buy tickets for two hours following attack from unknown criminals
Luck deserted punters looking to play the Irish lottery last night after a major cyber-attack left them unable to buy tickets online and in stores.
The Irish National Lottery confirmed it had been hit by a DDoS attack leading up to last night’s midweek draw – however it said that the attack did not affect the ultimate result.
The attack lasted for two hours, although the draw, which concerned a €12.5m jackpot, still went ahead, however there were no winners.
“Indications are that this morning’s technical issues were as a result of a DDOS attack affecting our communications networks,” a statement from the Lottery said.
“The issues were resolved by the National Lottery’s DDOS protection systems, limiting disruption and restoring all operations within two hours.
“This incident is still under investigation. However, we can confirm that at no point was the National Lottery gaming system or player data affected,” the statement to Irish broadcaster RTE added.
Security researchers commented that lottery organisations can become popular targets for attackers as big jackpots often lead to a predicatable spike in online traffic.
“As a rule, record setting prizes and jackpots result in traffic spikes on lottery sites and it is very common for DDoS attackers to strike during such predictable peak traffic times, especially when going after big targets,” noted Igal Zeifman, senior digital strategist at Imperva.
“Such attacks maximize the damage potential of the assault by applying additional pressure on the already-strained organizations and network infrastructures.”
A recent Akamai report found that the UK has become the leading originator of DDoS attacks, ahead of China and the US.
But the UK is also an increasingly popular target, after the report found that in the third quarter, the UK was the second most targeted country for web application attacks at seven percent of total attacks, with the United States (75 percent) taking top spot.
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