60,000 DraftKings Accounts Were Hacked Last Year — How Has This Changed Gambling Cybersecurity?


Last year, over 60,000 DraftKings accounts were hacked by 18-year-old Joseph Garrison from Wisconsin. This sent shockwaves through the online gambling industry, as a cybersecurity breach of this size had never been seen before. What made it even more shocking was that it happened to DraftKings, the largest sportsbook in the US. With countless employees and unlimited resources, everyone assumed that DraftKings had cybersecurity measures in place that would keep players protected at all times — but this turned out to not be the case.

Who Are DraftKings?

Launched in 2012, DraftKings is officially the most popular sportsbook in the US. It boasts over 2.3 million monthly users and has been able to reach the top of the sports betting pyramid thanks to its huge pool of betting markets, daily fantasy sports contents, and low minimum deposits. Alex Windsor, head of content at minimumdepositbettingsites.com, has provided his thoughts on this:

“DraftKings are the real deal when it comes to low minimum deposits. By today’s standards, their current deposit offer of a $50 bonus for a $5 deposit is amazing value — and it’s ultimately enabled them to gain a slight edge on their main rival FanDuel.”

How the DraftKings Hack Happened

The DraftKings hacking scandal was surprisingly quite simple. Joseph Garrison used the popular “stuffing attack” method, which began with him purchasing stolen login credentials from the dark web. With 60,000 unique DraftKings accounts in his hands, Garrison then sold them through his “Goat Shop”. The buyers of the accounts stole around $600,000 from 1,600 users, making it one of the biggest gambling site heists of all time.

Once the news broke, DraftKings’ brand image took a major hit. At the same time, the share price for DraftKings dropped. However, it has since bounced back and is now stronger than ever. What helped was DraftKings’ decision to refund all of the users whose accounts were hacked by Garrison, which cost the company thousands of dollars.

Garrison himself has been sentenced to 18 months in jail as well as $1.3 million in restitution payments to DraftKings, having previously commented:

 “Fraud is fun. I’m addicted to seeing money in my account.”

Over a year later, DraftKings is officially back to normal and all of its account holders have been refunded. The aftershock of the hacking scandal continues, though, which has led to a major leveling up of cybersecurity across the entire iGaming industry. Now, online casinos and sportsbooks are shifting their focus to providing the best possible protection to users while keeping any potential threat from hackers under control.

Advanced Encryption

Advanced encryption is now a huge trend in most industries — not just gambling. Specifically, when it comes to sportsbooks and online casinos, sites are making use of SSL and TLS encryption. These technologies encrypt the data transmitted between gambling sites and players (e.g. bank details) so that the data is unreadable. What this means is that even if a hacker is able to intercept the data and grab it, the data cannot be read, making it useless to them. Moving forward, SSL and TLS encryption will be at the center of online gambling cybersecurity in the aftermath of the DraftKings hacking.

Two-Factor Authentication

All of the leading gambling sites, from DraftKings to Stake, now offer two-factor authentication to users. The way this works is that (whenever a user signs in) they must provide a unique security code that has been sent to their email address or phone number. It’s an excellent layer of extra security that essentially makes it impossible for hackers to gain access to accounts, which is why gambling sites are now actively recommending users to turn on two-factor authentication to keep their money safe.

Stronger Password Requirements

As mentioned earlier on, gambling sites like DraftKings are now also recommending that users create stronger passwords. From the outside, it seems like a no-brainer. However, many gambling fans still opt to use overly basic passwords, which makes their accounts more susceptible to being hacked.

DraftKings and the Future of Gambling Cybersecurity

As the future unfolds, it’s highly unlikely that any gambling site will ever be hacked on the scale of DraftKings again. Cybersecurity improvements are on the rise and player protection is being prioritized above everything else, making life incredibly difficult for potential hackers. For any gamblers out there, it’s recommended that you follow along with the current cybersecurity guidelines being issued by gambling sites, such as turning on two-factor authentication.

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