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Report: BC Online Casino Had Inadequate Security

16 February 2011 by admin

elizabeth-denham-assistant-privacy-commissionerAn official report now states on the record what we knew a while ago: the British Columbia Lottery’s online casino had inadequate security when it launched. This, of course, is a predictable outcome to having a government agency not used to running online gambling websites try to launch a casino of their own, rather than allowing the experts to open casinos in their jurisdiction.

Elizabeth Denham, the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner, released a report on the findings of her independent investigation into the problems the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s PlayNow.com website had shortly after launch. According to Denham, the Lottery Corp. did not take adequate steps to ensure privacy and the protection of the sensitive information of the gamblers. She did, however, state that the BCLC has since taken steps to solve the problems and she feels that there is currently adequate protection.

The PlayNow.com online casino launched last summer, but within hours needed to be shut down due to a security glitch. The glitch allowed approximately 134 “data crossovers,” which allowed some players to view sensitive account information, such as banking and credit card information, of other players on the website. That glitch was reported shortly after the website was shut down, but Denham’s investigation found other problems as well.

Unrelated to the data crossover glitch, Denham found “inadequate user access controls and malicious code controls, unencrypted data transmission and gaps in BCLC’s privacy management framework.” In other words, it found problems long since addressed by reputable private online casinos in the industry. Denham found those security failures to be of a particular problem because gambling websites attract the sort of people who are inclined to “test the security of online gambling platforms.”

In her report, Denham makes five recommendations for creating a safer gambling website for its customers. Michael Graydon, President of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, says that four of those recommendations will be implemented by March 1. The other recommendation – that a schedule should be created for the destruction of customers’ personal information – would require government approval and will take more time.

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