In the Headlines
August 31, 2018

DraftKings Sues Unknown Hackers Over Cyberattack That Took Down Site

Boston Business Journal

Fantasy sports and betting company DraftKings Inc. is suing a group of unknown hackers for launching a pair of cyberattacks earlier this month that briefly knocked their website offline.

On August 7 and 8, two "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks flooded DraftKings' web hosting servers with massive amounts of fake internet traffic; the second attack knocked the site offline for 26 minutes, preventing legitimate DraftKings customers from using it. The lawsuit is an attempt to unmask the hackers by forcing information out of a series of third-party companies that control the proxy networks and IP addresses used in the attacks—some of which can be traced to Romania, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

DDoS attacks have become a common cause of concern for businesses because they're increasingly easy and cheap to launch, even for people without any technical skills. It is estimated that so-called "DDoS-for-hire" sites charge clients about $20 for 30 minutes of attack time per month.

Partner Adam Bookbinder, who previously led the cybercrime unit for the U.S. Attorney's office in Massachusetts, has said that in most cases a business hurt by a DDoS attack would turn to the FBI or other law enforcement officials for help tracking down the attackers, making this lawsuit slightly unusual. "When you're talking about a DDoS attack by unknown perpetrators, it can be challenging to get what you need through civil litigation," stated Mr. Bookbinder. "Generally, law enforcement has tools and connections, particularly internationally, that are really important if you want to figure out who's responsible."

A spokesperson for DraftKings declined to comment whether the company spoke to law enforcement officials before filing the suit, but told Boston Business Journal that the company is willing to work with law enforcement once it has the information it is trying to collect.

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