Online gambling is ever increasing in popularity since the inception of the first online casino in 1994. And just like any other business out there, it’s not short of risks and problems. These days, the main issues derive from cybersecurity offenses and addiction-related psychological problems for a minority of players. Naturally, the market self-regulates and has come up with different answers to some of these issues.
Cyber attacks are being committed by both individuals and organizations, sometimes even by states. North Korea, for example, has stepped up the cyber attacks around the world, especially towards South Korea’s financial institutions. South Korean experts, including the Financial Security Institute (FSI), have detected a shift in North Korea’s hacking objectives. If the past the attacks were meant to steal classified information, today, the totalitarian state focuses its efforts in gathering money, whether it be fiat or cryptocurrency.
Other types of offenders have somewhat the same objective when committing cyber attacks — making money. There has been a recent spike in cryptocurrency mining viruses, especially in Russia, which redirects a part of the computing processing power towards mining bitcoins and sending them back to the offender. All at the expense of the victim’s processor power. So, if your computer starts lagging for no reason, then it’s best to consider the possibility of such a virus infection.
Nonetheless, there are a few steps you can take to increase your computer’s protection.
- Create complex, case-sensitive passwords in the format of a phrase. If you have to write them down, choose a physical notebook. If can also safely write them in a digital format, but never name the file “passwords” or something obvious like that.
- Enable 2-step verification on all accounts. landslide allows you to verify any new access through the help of your cell phone.
- Buy an antivirus license and always keep it activated and updated, even for your phone. Try to buy original programs and keep everything updated. Also, make sure you have a firewall activated.
- Encrypt all your personal and financial data when sharing them on cloud servers or any other website. There are quite a few pieces of software available. For example, BitLocker is a full-disk encryption tool which uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and it’s very easy to use.
- Set your Wi-Fi connection with a complex WPA2 encryption or similar, and avoid using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions. Furthermore, avoid websites without “https://” protection.
- Don’t store your financial information on websites or forms. You can check to see if your credit card info is available online by Googling the last 6 or 8 numbers of your credit card with double quotes (“12345678”). It’s not foolproof as it can be on the dark web.
- Maintain a skeptic eye regarding e-mails with strange links and forms. Furthermore, when buying via credit card from a website, make sure to inspect the tiny icons depicting a padlock or corporations such as Visa, Mastercard etc. Many of these icons are just copy-pasted images which seek to trick you into believing that the website is certificated.
As for the time-old problem of addiction, both the private and public sector have tried to come up with solutions regarding the minority of self-destructive gamblers. Both governmental and non-governmental institutions scrambled to come up with a universal methodology to make pathological gamblers quit. The area of study is relatively new and in a continuous expansion, with several forms of psychotherapies already in use such as Gambler’s Anonymous, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and family therapy. In other words, group support, identifying and correcting cognitive distortions, addressing core conflicts and hidden traumas, and similar treatment is highly relative to the individual which can be responsive or not.
More interestingly is the fact that software companies have also developed software meant to assist professionals in dealing with pathological gamblers. For example, pieces of software like GamBlock, Betfilter, and GamBan are programs that once installed on a computer, blocks all access to gambling websites and cannot be deleted by any means until the subscription ends. The only way to delete a blocking software is by executing a full hard drive formatting. Any other method such as using special deleting programs or removing it manually from the registries can result in windows errors and a faulty computer. Usually, the blocking pieces of software are accompanied by a self-exclusion request from all national gambling casinos, including bitcoin casinos. There’s no denying that blocking companies are raking in a lot of money from different types of subscriptions, annually. But the only problem is that the pieces of software will also block other websites completely non-related to gambling, creating frustration among the clients they’re supposed to help. And while some will say that the program helped them, others will accuse the program of frustrating them to the point of relapsing. So, the effectiveness of these programs is to be discussed because most therapists will condemn a forceful approach towards the person in the cause. The consensus among the scientific community is that the individual has to personally take initiative against his addiction and not forced by a third party, as it creates contra-productive results.
Prevention is key. Taking the necessary steps in every action we take on the internet, even if boresome and time-consuming, prevents security attacks by a landslide. Similarly, moderation and self-control through discipline might prevent a gambler from going overboard.