A hacker launched an attack on four New Jersey online gambling sites that caused the sites to go offline for 30 minutes over the July 4 weekend.
The hacker then asked for a ransom to be paid in the virtual currency Bitcoin to prevent future attacks during the holiday weekend.
No ransom was paid, and state gaming officials said the attack’s effects were “mitigated.”
David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement Division, said the attack was a distributed denial-of-service attack, in which the websites were flooded with information and requests for access that ultimately caused them to crash.
“The attack was followed by the threat of a more powerful and sustained attack to be initiated 24 hours later unless a Bitcoin ransom was paid,”
Rebuck told the Associated Press. “This follow-up attack had the potential to not only negatively impact the targeted casinos, but also all businesses in Atlantic City” that share the same internet service provider.
Rebuck said due to a response by law enforcement and casino staff, “the threat was mitigated with no significant disruption to service. All involved remain on heightened alert, but are relieved that the holiday weekend has passed without incident.”
Officials did not say which sites were affected, and also did not disclose the amount of the ransom demanded. No player money was stolen and no personal information was compromised in the incident, he said.