WPN CEO Nagy Alleges DDOS Attacks Orchestrated by Rival Site
The CEO of the Winning Poker Network, Philip Nagy, has alleged that the ongoing DDOS attacks launced against the network and its flagship site, America’s Cardroom, are quite probably the result of a war being waged against the network by an unnamed rival site.
Exactly who might be behind the attacks has yet to be determined or disclosed. The revelations by Nagy came in his latest appearance on America’s Cardroom’s Twitch channel. That appearance has now been uploaded and archived to YouTube (video link below).
Nagy’s comments came following a series of Labor Day weekend attacks which severely disrupted services on the grey-market, US-facing network. The attacks not only forced WPN to cancel ongoing tourneys, they also forced WPN and ACR to terminate the remainder of the ongoing “OSS Cub3d” tournament series, most specifically the third and most high-priced leg of the series, the “BOSS” (Bigger Online Super Series).
In the video appearance, Nagy disclosed that the WPN had been hit by 26 separate DDOS attack waves in recent days, with the attacks bringing as many as 14 million “bots,” or enslaved computers, into the attack against the network. The forces behind DDOS attacks typically gain access to vast numbers of computers via virus infections, then use those infected computers to launch the attacks against the target in temporary but massive waves of data requests that flood the targeted site.
Such DDOS attacks have long been a part of the online-gambling scne, and they’ve almost always been done for purposes of extortion. What’s new here, however, is the allegation that the DDOS-ing against WPN is being done for more than just that. If Nagy’s claims are true, a rival site or network is intentionally trying to damage or even bankrupt the business.
Nagy enlisted the help of a couple of “well-known poker players,” to chat with the attacker, who attempted to add emphasis to his extortion attacks by appearing on ACR chat to announce them before they began.
After berating the attacker, according to Nagy, the players were surprised when the attacker responded with, “This is my job; another site gives me money to DDOS you.”
If true, that’s a startling development in the world of online gambling. Earlier, Nagy had noted that the DDOS attacks against WPN and ACR first started when ACR offered its first-ever million-dollar-guaranteed tourney.
Said Nagy, “We had never received a DDOS attack before we announced our first Million in 2014 in December. For those of you who were there for that, you remember, we had to cancel that and refund it, because we suffered massive DDOS attacks, over and over again.Then we did it again in February, and overlaid a lot, paid everybody but made it through it.
“Ever since then, it seems like – and maybe it’s just because I’m sitting on this side of the desk – it seems like, we get DDOSed more than anybody else. I just don’t hear [about] it happening to anybody else. …”
If the DDOS attacks were indeed funded by a corporate rival, the rationale behind it would be interesting. Not only could WPN be targeted by a direct rival, meaning another US-facing, grey-market site or network, there’s also a chance that WPN could be targeted by an indirect rival. In that scenario, ACR could pose a threat to ongoing US legalization efforts, and by trying to force the site to fail – perhaps even in a Lock Poker-style fiasco – it could reinforce the arguments in favor of ongoing regulatory efforts. Whether such an indirect competitor is capable of such long-game thinking and is also willing to fund the attacks is a rather larger question, however.
ACR, naturally, has little legal recourse against such attacks, whether referring to the attacker directly or to those who might be funding them, should Nagy’s allegations be true. The flip side of operating in a legal grey area is that WPN has no jurisdictional body to turn to for help in ending such attacks.
“Somebody, somewhere, is fucking with your poker,” said Nagy, summing up the situation.
Here’s the video of Nagy’s rant on the DDOS attacks: