888Poker Falls Victim to DDoS Attacks

888Poker Falls Victim to DDoS Attacks

Over the past several weeks, a number of online poker sites were hit with DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. The disruption of services was frustrating for poker operators and players alike, and most of the cyberattacks lasted at least several days. Players had to be reimbursed for interrupted games and tournaments, and customer service representatives worked overtime to ensure that all players were compensated for the inconveniences.

It is still unclear as to the identity of the attackers. They are often never known, as is the nature of DDoS incidences. While there seems to be a theme of taking down online poker operators of all stripes – offshore and legal, licensed sites – it didn’t stop some from wondering if the attacker was a poker competitor. But any speculation that it was 888poker, the largest site not attacked in August, has been quashed, as 888poker seems to be the latest victim.

Attacks in August

The first victim of the recent DDoS attacks was Americas Cardroom, which experienced problems for well over one week. The operator did reimburse players but failed to accept that the site could’ve been a random victim, as it instead pointed out the problems another site began exhibiting.

PartyPoker was the second large site to fall victim to the DDoS attacks, though PartyPoker responded with humility and transparency while trying to eliminate the problem and resume normal play.

Days later, PokerStars was the target of the cyberattacks, though it remains unclear if the perpetrators were the same for all online poker hits. PokerStars was direct in its admissions and responses, and it even followed up with players by offering a series of freerolls in August for all customers affected during the DDoS troubles.

Next Up, 888Poker

As it turned out, 888poker was not spared from the DDoS attacks, either. Of the three top online poker sites in the world, 888poker was the last to be hit by the cyberattacks, and it happened over the weekend as 888poker was serving up its final days of the ChampionChips series of tournaments.

The problems began during the first week of September and ran into Sunday, the latter being the busiest day of the online poker week, and they continued through Monday and into Tuesday. Players were notified as soon as the operator realized it was a DDoS attack on Saturday. Site representatives have also been active on player forums like Two Plus Two with messages such as:

“As many of you may already know, we have experienced intermittent disruptions of our service to you due to DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. This has affected our ability to provide you with a comprehensive poker experience.

“On behalf of the team, I apologise for the inconvenience caused and want you to know that the entire 888poker Team continues to work diligently to mitigate these attacks. Addressing technical issues, outstanding member concerns and restoring normality to our poker room is our top priority.

“As you can imagine, our contact volumes are much higher than usual; therefore there may be delays in our responses. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to work to get our service to you.”

As with the other sites, no matter the high level of technology and security implemented by companies like 888poker, PokerStars, and PartyPoker, the attacks are so severe that sites can be affected for a week or more. And similar to the other incidences, it began with players unable to connect to their accounts, being disconnected from action, and receiving error messages inconsistent with typical connection issues.

As of September 11, 888poker was still fighting off the attacks and dealing with masses of players seeking answers, reimbursements, and compensation. Since the problem remains unresolved, it is unclear if 888poker will mimic PokerStars’ freeroll gesture or simply refund players per their terms and conditions. It is also unclear if the ChampionChips series will be rescheduled.

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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