UK Betting Sites Hit By Outages During World Cup

Several popular UK-based betting online betting sites have been hit by brief outages this morning, interrupting wagering on the World Cup. Sites operated by BetDirect and UKBetting were offline for periods of between 45 minutes and two hours during the same general time period.

Industry observers say as much as £1 billion ($1.84 billion U.S.) could be wagered on this year's World Cup, five times the betting volume for the 2002 event. It's not clear whether heavy traffic was a factor in today's outages, but that type of betting volume makes downtime quite expensive for online bookmakers. Historically, betting sites have been targeted by DDoS extortionists during major sporting events.

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Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides detailed uptime charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

Industries conducting large volumes of transactions are frequent targets for a cottage industry of digital extortionists using distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. 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.

Past attacks timed to coincide with high-volume wagering events were seen at the outset of the Euro 2004 event and Wimbledon tennis tourney.