How a Data Breach Can Compromise Your Casino Passwords
In the era where virtually everyone has usernames and passwords for a variety of websites and services, there are several data breaches that leak this information every single year. Even if the breach is for a non-gambling account or website, it can still lead to you losing control of your online casino account if you are not careful.
Understanding How Data Breaches Work and Protecting Against Them
There is no shortage of shady individuals who are looking to make a quick amount of money any way they can, and that includes stealing it from other people. The victims of these types of crimes often have no idea how it even happened because they thought their accounts were secure in situations where the thieves have simply logged into their accounts normally.
This can happen from a general data breach, and it can affect your casino accounts if you don’t know how to safeguard against such a scenario.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people have no idea that this can happen, so we’re going to break down the process from top to bottom, explain how and why it happens, and show you how you can prevent it from affecting your casino accounts even if one of your non-gambling account’s login information does become compromised due to some type of hack or data breach.
The Anatomy of a Data Breach
Before you can protect against this sort of thing, it’s very helpful to know how it actually happens and why it works the way it does. There are a few moving parts here, so to speak, and we realize most people aren’t comfortable with a bunch of over-complicated technical jargon, so we’re going to break it down in a way that everyone can understand in the following.
The Storage of Log-in Information
First off, realize that there is a separate log-in for each and every person who uses a website, and that information has to be contained somewhere. For each site, email account or any other online service you use, there’s a database (essentially a long list) that includes each person’s data. Anything that you have given this site; including your username, email or password; will be listed for each individual who uses the service.
This database is just a file or a series of files kept on a computer somewhere. This is useful and necessary because it allows the site to make sure that you’re who you say you are by asking you to put in a username and password to log in, so there’s not really a viable way around having such a system.
Unfortunately, this means that some people could gain unauthorized access to this database. This can happen because of faulty computer security or other reasons, and while these companies do their best to keep everything safe, it’s never going to be a situation where your data is 100 percent safe 100 percent of the time. This even happens to major financial institutions like banks and credit unions.
How These Databases Are Shared and Used
If a hacker, disgruntled employee or some other party gets unauthorized access to this database, then they can make a copy of it for their own use, and that’s when things start to go off the rails. This database can be sold on the Internet, put up for anyone to see or any number of other things that drastically complicate the situation by increasing the number of people who could be using it to try to attack those accounts.
You may be wondering what this has to do with a casino account if the database isn’t for any type of online casino. There are three primary ways that this can be used to expose methods of attack on your own account or plenty of other individuals.
People Who Use the Same Account Information
The first is the simple fact that a whole lot of people tend to use the same email and password for everything. It’s easy and convenient, but it opens you up to tremendous attack opportunities because as soon as one username/password combination is compromised, that means they are all compromised since they all use the same information.
Hackers and those who would otherwise exploit these databases have programs that will go through the list and try combinations of emails/usernames and passwords at different online casinos to see how many matches they can find. Once a match is found, any funds in the account are obviously compromised. What’s more insidious, however, is that having control of your account in this way means that the attackers can make deposits and potentially withdrawals on your behalf, which could clean out a credit card or other type of deposit account.
The point is that when one thing is compromised, if all of your passwords are the same, then it’s not that difficult for skilled attackers to find several victims in a database like this with everything compromised down to their bank accounts and credit cards.
Getting Access to Email Accounts
Suppose you were more vigilant than the above example and used a different password with an online casino than you did everything else. If the information found in the database is for the email address you use for your casino account, or if it can otherwise be used to find that information, then changing your password is a trivial task that will take just a couple of minutes.
This is because most casinos have a simple option available to change your password if you forget it to prevent you from getting locked out of your account. However, the really disturbing thing about it is that this feature can be used to do the opposite if someone has unauthorized access to your email account: It can be used to lock the true owner out of the account instead.
The entire time you’re locked out, they have access to everything just like in the scenario above. The half-measure of changing your password for the one account is better than nothing, but it’s ultimately not enough to protect you.
The third and final idea we’ll look at here, though there are others, is the idea of using that information to get a keylogger onto your computer or mobile device. A keylogger is a program that records all of your keystrokes and sends them to a remote server. In this case, the remote server would be a computer or file hosting server that is used by a hacker, and this information from the keylogger can be easily used to figure out your username and passwords for many of your accounts, including those for online casinos.
While there are a lot of ways to make this attack happen, the basic idea is that there are plenty of file sharing services available online like Dropbox and Google Drive that can sync files to your computer. If a file was uploaded to one of your online accounts like this, then it can automatically sync to your computer, and from there, it can install a keylogger along these lines.
What’s so bad about this is that they don’t even need to get into your email account to make this happen. All that’s needed is a data breach of the passwords for these accounts or a different account that uses the same username and password. Once a hacker or other type of assailant gets that information, you’re going to have a hard time.
How to Prevent These Types of Attacks
There’s a straightforward set of things that you can do to prevent these types of attacks specifically from affecting your casino passwords. Once you understand how the whole thing works, which we’ve covered above, you can see how this approach that we’re going to layout here will help.
Step 1: Use different passwords for everything.
This is an absolute must, and while it can be aggravating, it’s one of those things that can save you plenty of headache in the future. You can think of the time that you put into remembering these different passwords and logins as an insurance policy against future breach issues.
If you do this, then it’s much more difficult to get into your email address, which would then be used to reset the password for your casino account. Moreover, it avoids scenarios where hackers can just use the password from the stolen database of logins to log straight into your online casino.
Step 2: Use a dedicated email for each online casino.
Here’s a trick that will solve most of your problems in one shot if it’s paired with the above step: Make a new email account for each individual online casino that you play with. When you pair this with a new password, it removes the majority of the attack approaches that can be used to get into your account without authorization as a result of a data breach.
The key to make this effective is to only use that email account for that one online casino and for nothing else.
If you haven’t used the email address with other websites or to sign up for other services, then no one can figure out that it even exists to try to use a “forgot your password” exploit. On top of that, it becomes much less likely that your information for that email would be exposed in a leak in and of itself, which drops the chances of anything happening extensively.
Step 3: Tighten up security on file syncing services.
If you use something like Dropbox or Google Drive to save and sync files, then you need to make sure that your security is tightened up. In the event that someone is able to compromise one of those accounts, you can protect yourself from having anything unauthorized from being uploaded to your devices, and you can protect yourself from having any unauthorized programs ran on your computer, smartphone or tablet through these services.
Check out the options for these services, and you’ll find a number of security options that most people largely ignore. The main ones to check out are to only allow uploading of files from specific devices or IP addresses. This cuts off the whole thing from the start by avoiding situations where people who do get access to your online files can upload anything to begin with. Having multiple layers of security can definitely help, but this is an important layer that can stop an attack before it can even start.
We take safety and security very seriously because we know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of some kind of online attack on your finances or personal information. Anyone who has had their identity stolen can tell you the same thing, so follow the ideas laid out above to help maximize your protection from the data breaches that seem to happen more and more often each year.