There are already plenty of reasons to stick with big name, established brands when gambling online.
For one, fraudsters operate online with virtual impunity, hiding behind layers of proxies, offshore shell companies and discreet bank accounts. If you happen to fall into their clutches and run into financial problems such as identity theft or stolen funds, it could be a very long and laborious process to track down whoever is behind the curtain, if it’s possible at all.
Viruses are a second concern. For reasons beyond the understanding of most ordinary people there are certain individuals out there who take pleasure in destroying for the sake of it. Viruses, worms, malware and more are rife on the web, and in the dark shadows of the internet, where many rogue casinos and illegitimate sports books operate, there are programs loaded with all of them, poised to wreak havoc on the systems of unsuspecting gamers.
Yet, in recent times, a new threat has emerged that combines both financial theft and malicious computer programs. Ransomware is a combination of the two – a computer program which when downloaded locks your computer behind layers of encryption, with those behind it demanding payment, or ransom, to unlock it.
While ransomware could automatically be triggered to download via a popup with code instructing an auto-download to begin, it’s more likely to be found in cases where players have to download a casino to their desktop or mobile device. There are many reasons to do this when playing at legitimate establishments (convenience and extra bonuses being two), but it does give ransomware an opening since it can be buried in and camouflaged by other programs.
Once you click, there’s virtually nothing you can do and payment can be demanded ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of pounds, dollars or euros.
Ransomware incidents have been on the rise in recent years, and even some high-profile government departments and educational institutions have fallen into the trap. If organizations which have entire IT teams dedicated to keeping their networks safe can be victimized by ransomware, the average online casino player sitting at home surely can, too.
Yet there’s no need to panic and become overly concerned about ransomware. It can be avoided almost entirely by deciding to only play at well-known, legitimate online casinos with an established reputation.
Casino.com and other big-name sites which have been around for a long time and which are licensed by solid, transparent government’s relative gaming commissions, like the UK Gambling Commission, can be safely trusted as they are routinely audited and checked by the authorities which issue their gaming licenses.
So, the next time you think of taking the too-good-to-be-true bonus offer at an unknown or brand new online casino, think about what the real cost might be. That’s not to say that every such casino is to be discarded as a potential ransomware threat, but rather to say that it’s always best to do your homework and deeply research any such establishment before signing up.
If you don’t have time for that, then stick with the big names you can trust and who are regulated by professional bodies with a mandate to keep things fair.
Ransomware is a threat which has truly become a menace in the last few years and which is only going to keep growing as it becomes easier and faster to create. Don’t be its next victim!
Ransomware is by no means restricted to the online casino sector. To protect yourself from it, we recommend getting free anti-ransomware software such as Intercept X.