Three months ago, we covered an incident at EPT Barcelona where poker players’ laptops were compromised. If you don’t want to read the entire story, the jest of it is that certain players noticed their laptops were tampered with, then reported this to hotel security. Unfortunately, the security staff was less than helpful, leading the police to get involved.
Famed Finnish grinder Jens “Jeans89” Kyllonen was one of the players whose laptop was messed with. And seeing as how Kyllonen plays the highest stakes offered in online poker, he felt it necessary to hire a security company to sort through the matter.
According to F-Secure, Kyllonen’s computer was indeed tampered with. Seeing as how I’m not well-versed in techie babble, I’ll just let you have a look at what F-Secure wrote on the matter:
After a while, it was obvious that his hunch was correct, the laptop was indeed infected. There was a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) with timestamps coinciding with the time when the laptop had gone missing.
Apparently, the attacker installed the trojan from a USB memory stick and configured it to automatically start at every reboot. A RAT, by the way, is a common tool that allows an attacker to control and monitor a laptop remotely, viewing anything that happens on the machine.
The trojan is written in Java and uses obfuscation, but isn’t all that complicated. Since it’s in Java, the malware can run in any platform (Mac OS, Windows, Linux).
F-Secure added that they believe Kyllonen and other high stakes players are specifically being targeted by hackers. The company also managed to dub this criminal act “sharking.”
What saved Jeans89 from being sharked is the fact that he walked into his hotel room while the crime was taking place. Kyllonen was spooked when his laptop was missing, so he ran to get security. When he arrived with security, his computer had been put back, meaning the perpetrators may have been hiding in the room the first time he walked in.
In any case, it seems like he’s been lucky enough to avoid being ripped off. But that’s not to say that there couldn’t be another famous poker pro out there who’s the perps’ next intended victim.