I’m fascinated by the ingenuity behind the latest virus to show up on the Internet, malware that targets people who play online poker through Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. It lurks in the background and when those users are actually playing it spies on their hand and reports what they’re holding to a central server, whereupon the sly hackers can jump into the game and bet against the player, secretly knowing their exact hand.
The name of the game here is money, so it’s a sure bet (pun intended) that these players are also likely to have a history of making large bets and perhaps even winning.
Where can you find this evil little program? Well, if you happen to download a poker calculator or player database, it might just have infected your computer too. Again, really ingenious: offer users a free poker calculator while secretly installing an app that lets you spy on their actual hands when they’re playing on two of the most popular online gambling sites.
The only thing that should stop you from being too anxious is that apparently most of the victims of this particular online crime were based in Eastern Europe, mostly Russia and the Ukraine.
Online crime is bad. Malware is bad. But I’m really impressed with the extraordinary ingenuity of this particular attack.