The attack this September was by no means an attempt unseen before. Last December, 2014, Poker News reported a similar attack on the website that offers online poker to serious players. That incident saw the site cancel a major online poker tournament that had massive amounts of money at stake.
Any idea how that kind of cyber attack manifests?
Well, the culprits enter the site and begin making requests just like any other interested poker player. Any problem with that…? Nothing really – there is no problem at least at face value. However, their requests are not genuine. And they are massive in number! In essence, the online poker site experiences:
- Uncountable communication requests solely intended to flood the site machines
- Great overwhelm on the site with heavy communication traffic
- Inability to handle genuine and legitimate gaming requests
In fact, the attack of December 2014, and now the one of last Sunday, caused serious problems during the respective poker tournaments when:
- Gaming tables froze
- The freezing of the gaming tables led to players unfairly timing out
That experience was, without question, frustrating to genuine players of poker.
Is WPN giving up on hosting poker tournaments following the attacks?
Well, in some pastoral communities where herders drive heads of cattle to streams to quench their thirst, they have a saying that cows do not cease to drink from the streams just because the waters are infested with croaking and gaping frogs. It seems that is the same attitude WPN has taken. After terminating the tournament worth a million dollars in December 2014, they decided there is no more room for panic.
Therefore on 13th September when signs of a similar attack surfaced at a time when another million dollar tournament was underway, WPN had its guard up. It did not let the attack ruin the online poker tournament. This particular attack, just like the one of 2014, came as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – only this time it did not culminate in termination of the poker tournament.
So how did WPN handle the attack on its online poker site?
Well, granted the tournament had five minutes of pause, but that was it. WPN considered the nature of the attack where they observed that beyond the massive non-genuine requests flowing in there were messages of extortion as well. Poker News has it that the bullies thought they would get a quick buck by demanding bit coins as the price for stopping their invasion of WPN. Of course, being aware that the prize for the tournament winner was pegged at $200,000, the cyber bullies would have stretched their figure pretty high. But boldly and decisively, Phil Nagy, the CEO of WPN stood his ground and did not concede to the bullies whom he equated to terrorists.
So, how did the September 13th 2015 online poker tournament go?
Great, everything considered! After halting the poker for about five minutes, gaming resumed with WPN’s technical staff on full alert. They monitored every activity ready to protect the genuine competitors. And though there may have been some sparse pauses, the whole online poker tournament was generally a success.
Does that mean that WPN was in no way affected financially?
Well, there was a little shake-up. The attack on the poker hosting site had an adverse effect on target earnings. Whereas the prize pool WPN was targeting was $1 million dollars, this online poker site only managed to raise $775,500. The overlay, therefore, came to $224,500. This is because only 1,549 players managed to participate in the poker tournament following the serious connectivity issues that emerged.