Bad Actors Bet Big on Bots During the Super Bowl

Working for an Australian company can make it difficult to be a die-hard NFL fan. Making matters worse is that most of my American colleagues are in Boston, a true nightmare for someone born and raised in New Jersey. The only thing I have to hold over their heads is that I can legally bet online (I’m taking Kansas City). 

We’re moments away from the Super Bowl. Along with being one of the world’s biggest sporting events, it is historically one of the largest days in sports betting. But this year is different. With lockdowns still in place, bettors cannot easily place their wagers in person. As a result, online betting for Super Bowl LV is going to make history. American Gambling Association (AGA) expects a record of 7.6 million Americans will bet with online sportsbooks this year, which is up a staggering 63 percent year-over-year. This record-breaking rise in online betting places sportsbooks and bettors in an exceptionally unique position to make an enormous profit or suffer major losses.   

But they are not the only ones that are making big bets on the big game. What may not be so obvious are the bad actors that will attempt to capitalize on this upcoming online event. Where opportunity is, cybercriminals follow, and they are placing their bets on bots to automate fraud. More than ever, sportsbooks need to ensure that their online channels’ infrastructure can handle the influx of users and fortify their defenses against cybercriminals. 

First Time Customers Make Snap Judgements 

On high volume days like the Super Bowl, sportsbooks need to keep user accounts safe and secure, while also maintaining an optimal user experience to ensure that new customers become lifelong users to maximize customer loyalty and revenue. 

This year’s massive (more than double) increase in online betting means that many people will be using betting sites or apps for the first time. According to a study by LendingTree, more than half of Americans say that they’ll bet on this year’s game, and 43% of betters will wager at least $100. As a sports betting site, providing first time online bettors with an exceptional experience will encourage users to continue using your services in the future. Serving the real humans looking to bet on the game — rather than serving bots trying to game the site — is imperative. 

Guaranteeing that your customers can place a bet, whenever they want to, with minimal latency, is imperative to customer satisfaction, and therefore, lifetime value of a customer. Some of the best action during the game can happen in the blink of an eye, and your customers need to be able to place their bets just as quickly. Providing first-time users with the best possible experience will help convert them into recurring customers.

The Right Time to Strike

What makes this year an especially ideal opportunity for fraudsters? It is the combination of widespread sports betting legalization and the inability to place wagers in person due to lockdown restrictions. Sports betting has now been legalized in 21 states, allowing nearly half of the US to place wagers on Sunday’s game. With in-person betting down 61% from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online betting will be flooded with new users. This rise in demand for online betting will create the perfect opportunity for bad actors to hide their malicious activities in the expected increased legitimate traffic.

More Money, More Opportunity

More users means one thing to fraudsters: more money. More people than ever will be using online channels to bet on the Super Bowl, providing attackers with more targets than ever before. Not only will there be a dramatic uptick in users for fraudsters to go after, but individual accounts will also have more money in them both from winnings paid out and funds that are loaded for bets users plan to make.  With access to a user’s account fraudsters could easily place bets under the real user’s account, steal credit card information, and empty users’ winnings into their account. 

What This Means For Online Sportsbooks

How sportsbooks manage bots during peak events like the Super Bowl can make or break the companies’ success. The volatility of their traffic during peak events enables bots to fly under the radar – completely undetected – to create fake accounts, take over real accounts, scrape content, and slow down websites and mobile apps. Because there are so many new customers it’s even harder for bot mitigation solutions to distinguish between humans and bots, as many requests have never been seen before. 

Many sportsbooks will find themselves needing a more modern approach to bot management – one that doesn’t rely on looking for behaviors, can detect malicious requests never seen before, and eliminate bad bot traffic

With Kasada, major online sports betting companies are protecting their web, mobile, and API channels from malicious actors while providing their users with the best possible experience. ensuring that only legitimate traffic reaches their applications from the very first request. This ensures that their infrastructure can handle peak traffic loads and ultimately maximize profits by providing an excellent customer experience.

What Can Online Sportsbooks Do

To find out if your current bot protection solution can effectively manage advanced persistent bot attacks, you can check out 10 must-have capabilities for stopping malicious automation. Get your checklist here.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Kasada authored by Jonathon Doherty. Read the original post at: https://www.kasada.io/bad-actors-bet-big-on-bots-during-the-super-bowl/