Several UK betting sites have experienced lengthy outages today as betting action mounts ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl. The simultaneous downtime at UK Betting and TotalBet were preceded by a similar period of slowed response time at early Friday.
(UPDATE, Feb. 8: In our initial post we indicated that UKBetting and TotalBet are hosted at Prolexic, which specializes in defending against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Prolexic hosts IP addresses for UKBetting and TotalBet, but does not host customer servers or web files. Its systems deflect DDoS attacks, forwarding legitimate traffic to clients' servers. "Our network operated at 100% uptime during the entire Super Bowl week including the entire time during the reported Totalbet/UK Betting failure," said Prolexic CTO Barrett Lyon, who said the outage was caused by technical failures elsewhere, and not related to a DDoS attack.)
Betting sites are frequent targets of scams that seek payoffs by threatening a site operator with DDoS attacks, which gain leverage when timed to heavy betting events, when downtime is more costly. It is estimated that online betting sites will handle at least at $450 million in wagers on Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Netcraft is monitoring the performance of twenty leading UK Internet Gambling Sites, with dynamically updating graphs available here.
Online betting sites have been repeatedly targeted by DDoS extortionists, including a series of attacks at the outset of the Euro 2004 event and Wimbledon tennis tourney. These attacks typically are preceded by a request for payment from parties who claim the ability to "prevent" an imminent attack. If no payment is made, a DDoS attack follows.