Posts Tagged ‘sharking’

PokerStars causes Controversy by using Same EPT Barcelona Hotel

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Several members of the high stakes poker community were spooked at EPT Barcelona last year when criminals busted into their hotel rooms and installed malware on their computers. Jens Kyllonen was especially shook by the matter after his hotel room was broken into multiple times. The perpetrator(s) installed a virus on his laptop in an effort to track any sensitive information that he entered on the computer.

Given all of this, it’s a little surprising that PokerStars has chosen the same hotel to direct players to during the 2014 EPT Barcelona. One of the biggest problems regarding last year’s “sharking” attacks was that the Hotel Arts Barcelona security was horrid. The hallway security cameras weren’t working properly, and those at the front desk weren’t very helpful either.

Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications, said that PokerStars has used Arts Hotel for several years. He added that, despite the sharking attacks in 2013, most players seemed more than happy with the services provided by the hotel.

Of course, players are by no means bound to stay at the Hotel Arts. And you can guarantee that Kyllonen is one player who’ll be looking for somewhere else to stay. While gone from his room, he came back and discovered that his computer had been stolen. Upon returning with security, he discovered the laptop back in its original spot.

After having an independent company look at his laptop, Kyllonen found out that somebody had installed malware so they could have remote access to his screen. Luckily, the Finnish online poker pro was smart enough not to use his computer after the bizarre and puzzling incident. We can only hope that nothing similar happens during the 2014 EPT Barcelona event.

Jens Kyllonen, Others targeted in “Sharking” Scandal

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

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.