twitter logo linkedin logo facebook logo

Don't Gamble with Security: Session Hijacking Risks


Online security is a growing concern for sports betting and iGaming businesses. One particular threat that can have severe implications is session hijacking. 

In this blog, we’ll explore what session hijacking entails, provide examples to illustrate its impact, delve into the types of session hijacking in cybersecurity, and highlight why it poses significant challenges for sports betting and iGaming operators.

What is Session Hijacking?

Session hijacking, ‘session side jacking’ or ‘cookie hijacking’ refers to an attack where an unauthorised individual gains access to a user’s session information or cookies. 

By intercepting and exploiting this information, attackers can impersonate users, gain access to their accounts, and get involved in shady dealings.

What is an example of session hijacking?

Imagine a user, John, placing bets on his favourite team through an online sports betting platform. 

Unbeknownst to John, a hacker lurking on the same network manages to intercept his session cookies. 

Armed with this stolen information, the attacker gains unauthorised access to John’s account, manipulates his bets, or even withdraws funds without his knowledge.

What are the types of session hijacking in cyber security?

Session hijacking can occur through various methods. Here are a few standard techniques:

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks

In a MitM attack, the attacker intercepts the communication between the user and the server communication. That allows them to eavesdrop, alter, or inject malicious code into the transmitted data packets. By doing so, they can hijack the user’s session and gain control over their account.

Session Side jacking

This type of session hijacking targets unencrypted session cookies. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi networks or use packet sniffing tools to capture the session cookies transmitted over the network. And once they have them, the cookies can be used to impersonate the user’s session.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

XSS attacks inject malicious code into a trusted website, typically through user input fields. When another user visits the website, the injected code runs on their browser, enabling the attacker to take over their session and gain unauthorised access.

Session Fixation

In a session fixation attack, the attacker deceives the user into using a specific session ID, often through sneaky URLs or tricky manipulation. The attacker can seize control of their session once the user logs in with that given ID.

MIRACL users are protected from all of these types of session hijacking. With a PIN-only login process, the single-step MFA is the fastest and most secure tool for sports betting and iGaming operators. Our digital signing feature allows you to cut fraud by binding transactions irrefutably to the user so hackers can’t interfere. 

Why is session hijacking so problematic for sports betting and igaming operators? 

Session hijacking poses a real challenge for sports betting and iGaming operators because of the nature of their business. Here’s why:

  • Financial Losses and Fraud:

Money in sports betting and iGaming is constantly changing hands. When attackers seize control of a user’s session, they can manipulate bets, change odds, and steal funds. These losses not only harm the player but also impact the operator. The operator would need to invest in enhanced security measures, bear increased support costs, experience reduced traffic, and face higher cybersecurity insurance rates. With MIRACL, you’re protected. By design, MIRACL is inherently resistant to phishing and data hacks.

  • Reputation Damage:

Trust is everything in the sports betting and iGaming industry. If session hijacking attacks repeatedly target a platform, it can seriously damage its reputation for trustworthiness and fairness. Customers must feel confident that their accounts and personal information are safe; otherwise, they will take their business elsewhere.

  • Regulatory Compliance:

Sports betting and iGaming operators are subject to rigorous regulations and compliance standards. These include data protection, anti-fraud protocols, and customer authentication procedures. For instance, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) mandates the use of strong authentication, such as two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA), for accessing betting sites. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) requires businesses to disclose their data collection and usage practices in the United States. Similarly, in Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) establishes guidelines for businesses operating in certain provinces regarding collecting, using, and disclosing personal information. Failure to address session hijacking can result in severe penalties and legal consequences.

To ensure compliance with the strictest security and privacy regulations, MIRACL Trust offers a solution that meets the NJDGE’s 2FA sports betting and iGaming industry requirements, adheres to GDPR standards, and complies with PSD2 regulations.

  • Customer Retention:

Keeping customers happy and safe in such a competitive industry is critical to long-term success. If users experience session hijacking or see others fall victim to it on a platform, they’ll become wary and look for safer alternatives. Strong security measures are crucial to retaining customers and building loyalty. 

MIRACL takes the most frustrating part of every user experience – the multi-step, multi-factor authentication process – and replaces it with a single PIN code (or biometric) that takes less than two seconds. Players can log in and enjoy the gaming experience almost immediately without sacrificing security: MIRACL complies with NIST Digital Identity Guidelines.

  • Mitigating Session Hijacking Risks:

To tackle session hijacking head-on, sports betting and iGaming operators must beef up their security. Here are some crucial measures they can take:

  1. Encrypted Communication: Use secure HTTPS connections to protect sensitive data while it’s being transmitted, keeping prying eyes at bay.
  2. Strong User Authentication: Implement multi-factor authentication methods like biometrics to verify users’ identities, making it harder for attackers to impersonate them.
  3. Regular Security Audits: Conduct frequent audits to identify and fix any vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
  4. Continuous Monitoring: Set up intrusion detection systems and behaviour analytics to catch suspicious activities or potential session hijacking attempts in real-time.

MIRACL, the world’s fastest single-step MFA, can handle the first two. This means regular security audits and continuous monitoring are just a pro-forme operation and don’t end in emergency measures. 

With MIRACL, operators can ensure that only authorised individuals can access their platforms, protecting against session hijacking and unauthorised account access.

By adopting a proactive approach to cybersecurity and leveraging solutions like MIRACL, the sports betting and iGaming industry can thrive while offering customers a fantastic betting experience. 

Don’t believe us? Try MIRACL for yourself in just 5 minutes and without obligation here.

Get the MIRACL memo in your inbox

Get in touch to learn more

You can opt out at any time. See our privacy policy here.