A massive security breach at the world´s largest betting exchange company has exposed millions of online poker players to the risk of having their personal banking details compromised by hackers.
Betfair announced in a statement to the media that criminals had hacked into eleven different servers in the UK and Malta, gaining access to 3.15 million account usernames with encrypted security questions, 2.9 million usernames with one or more address and 89,744 account usernames with bank account details.
Attack Went Unnoticed for Six Weeks
The attacks on Betfair´s servers occurred between March 28th and April 9th 2010 but were not noticed until a Maltese based server crashed on May 20th. Betfair failed to inform its registered customers, claiming that “the data was unusable for fraudulent activity and we were able to recover the data intact”. The company also failed to reveal the attack to potential investors prior to last October´s £13.00 a share listing, although the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Australian Federal Police and the Royal Bank of Scotland – the payment processor for all of Betfair´s credit and debit card transactions – were informed.
Confidence in Betfair Crippled
A report into the hacking scandal by London based security consultants “Information Risk Management” criticised Betfair for the inadequacy of its data security. Their report stated “Information security was not implemented in accordance with best practice,” adding “Appropriate information security governance is not in place within Betfair and as a consequence the business has been exposed to significant risks.” Betfair has implemented many of the recommendations made in Information Risk Management´s report, reportedly at a cost of £10 million, but has suffered a huge loss of confidence from players and investors alike – with their shares now trading at around £7.39.
Director of Security Steps Down
Although Betfair claim that the resignation of Sean Catlett – the company´s Director of Group Security – is unrelated to the event, Catlett´s departure follows that of more than twenty other security personnel since the security breach occurred. Other recent departures from the company in the past twelve months include chief executive David Yu and chairman Ed Wray – clearing indicating that Betfair is experiencing problems at the highest level.