Email fraudsters are increasingly targeting customers of online casinos with phishing attacks. A wave of assaults against punters betting in casinos run from Antigua and the Dutch Antilles shows that attackers are extending their range beyond targets such as online banks and eBay.
The trend was picked up by security firm Symantec, which noticed a large number of attacks on small countries and traced the attacks back to assaults on online casinos.
Gambling sites are an attractive target for phishers because after tricking punters into handing over credit card details or login credentials it's easier to extract money from gaming accounts than it would be with online banking credentials.
Phishers need to employ middlemen to take money from compromised online bank accounts and wire it to them, typically using hard to trace Western Union money transfers.
That's because the fraudsters behind online banking scams are typically located in a different country to their victims. Since they are unable to transfer money directly from a victim's online account in a different country, local intermediaries - or 'mules' - are hired.
That requirement is unnecessary in the case of compromised online gambling accounts.
Access to gambling accounts also makes it easier to launder money. "Phishers can set up online gambling accounts sites using stolen credit card numbers and victims' identities. They can then launder dirty money by exchanging funds through the pots of games they set up amongst themselves," Symantec reports.
The net security firm adds that bot nets can also be used to launder money through online gambling sites. Bot clients are programmed to win or lose, transferring money to a chosen client. ®