Regulating the online poker industry has proven to be one of the biggest challenges for countries when online poker is legal. The legislation governing the online poker industry in most countries is pretty detailed but still has number of loopholes that allow the system to be manipulated by crafty individuals.
Governments are generally concerned about the online poker industry because a lot of personal and financial information is stored online, leaving online poker players vulnerable to cybercrimes.
PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world and Full Tilt Poker, one of the most popular online poker websites in the world have been hacked by cyber criminals. The two Amaya Inc owned companies were targeted by hackers who used a malware called ‘Odlanor’ to infiltrate these two websites and spy on online users and get a look at their cards. This information was then used to gain an upper hand during the game and help these cyber criminals win substantial sums of money.
The cyber criminals setup a simple operation by installing ‘Odlanor’ into common applications that were available on websites that were not very safe to access. When these online poker players would download such applications, the malware would automatically gain access into their computers and then it would “masquerades as benign installers”.
It works incredibly simply, installing malware onto computers when users download some other, useful application from illegitimate sources. The malware was first identified by a company known as Eset who confirmed that the hackers and loaded the malware into mTorrent perfect proxies and Daemon Tools.
In a statement, a representative of Eset said
In other cases, it was loaded onto the victim’s system through various poker-related programs – poker player databases, poker calculators, and so on – such as Tournament Shark, Poker Calculator Pro, Smart Buddy, Poker Office, and others.
The malware then starts taking screeshots of what the user is access and will pass them on to the cyber criminal who then logs into the online poker website and tries to get access to the table that the victim is currently playing at. The cyber criminal is now able to have a clear advantage over the online poker player and ends up taking all of his money.
PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have recognized the fact that their websites have been compromised and are in the process of increasing online security measures to thwart all such malware attacks.